Chestnuts for nut production are a promising tree nut crop across the eastern half of the United States, where demand exceeds supply. In today’s market, chestnuts are mainly grown, sold, and consumed locally fresh in-shell. There is significant opportunity to grow the fresh and processed markets, including dried chestnut flour, peeled frozen chestnuts, and prepared packaged chestnuts.
Chestnuts are a healthy, low-fat, gluten-free food ingredient, high in Vitamin C, that can be incorporated into a wide range of dishes – from soups to poultry stuffing, pancakes, muffins and pastries (using chestnut flour).
There are three main species that are most important for nut production worldwide.
Chinese chestnuts and complex hybrids tend to be most suited to the temperate climate and endemic disease pressures in the eastern U.S.
Most horticultural crops utilize known grafted cultivars to produce consistent crops with a predictable harvest window. For chestnut production in our region, issues with graft incompatibility and lack of cold hardiness require growers to rely on chestnut seedlings from superior parents. Seedling orchards require thinning and culling of inferior individuals, which will increase the overall yield and quality of the orchard overtime. Orchards composed of seedlings have shown desirable characteristics.
Read More about Growing Chinese Chestnuts