After reading Michael Pollan’s essay about the symbiotic relationship between beekeepers and almond growers, I knew I had to rethink my relationship with almonds. I love almonds, but I can’t love them with as much abandon since I now know that it’s dependent on the bee equivalent of a CAFO. I’ve certainly made it a point to seek out local honey from beekeepers that don’t truck their bees around, but I only knew half of it. Gosh, I hope there’s not too much more to know.
Since almonds don’t grow in this climate, I did need to find our local nuts anyway. All I had for information was that there was a nut orchard just west of Mount Vernon. As nut harvest approached (October-ish around here), I heard that the orchardist had passed away, but his wife was to open the orchards for U-pick. We couldn’t get it together in time and we missed that opportunity. I hope that she will continue next year or someone will take up the reins. I promise that I’ll buy bushels of nuts next year!
Of course, that is all the information that I have. West of Mount Vernon, perhaps on Avon Allen or Barrett or Kamb?, and that there were walnuts, hazelnuts and chestnuts(!!). I just remember the nut sign along Memorial Highway when I used to drive to work in Mount Vernon from Anacortes, but that was over a decade ago. Anyone know?
Meanwhile, we still need nuts.
The co-op carries walnuts and chestnuts in the shell from Cascade Walnut of Loomis, Washington. The walnuts are the most delicious I’ve ever tasted. I try not to do too much product reviewing, but they have some fine nuts. The chestnuts are superior to the ones that we bought last year which came from Italy. I’ve not been able to find any information about this grower so I may have to do a drive-by this summer. We love touring the old ghost towns of that area, but I digress …
We do have a large local nut grower and somehow I never noticed them until I found some lovely hazelnut wine at Samson Estates Winery. They get all their nuts for the wine from Holmquist Hazelnut Orchards up by the border. I had wanted to do a personal visit in November, but we were late for another visit and it had to be missed. I’m pretty sure that I scared my other half by stating that I had my eye on a 25# box of nuts! I’ll be by there later. 😉
Meanwhile, did you know that you could make wine from nuts? I certainly didn’t! I knew all about liqueurs, but a wonderful dessert wine that tasted of the pure essence of hazelnut? I was in heaven and we promptly bought a box to give away as Christmas presents. That, dear reader, is why you haven’t read about nuts in a timely fashion. And now you have next year’s Christmas taken care of. My gift to you. 😉
Anyway, over there on the newly minted Skagit Cooks, there will be some nut recipes. Until I get them posted, a few have been chosen and photographed already, visit the links for recipes at Holmquist and the Hazelnut Council. Way to announce and not be ready. 🙂