Due to the favourable weather conditions, there will be no shortage of hazelnuts in the Pacific Northwest. Nevertheless, a lot of suppliers will have difficulty in keeping up with the humungous demand. In fact, this is an issue that Australia has been facing for a long time. Most of the trees are an average of five years old, so they’re just starting to come into production, co-owner of Fraser Valley Hazelnuts, a family business settled in the region.
Moreover, there was a blight that came through, so all the old varieties and all the old orchards are gone, so everything is new. So they’re just starting to produce. There are about five hundred acres planted in the Fraser Valley and only about thirty to forty that are actually producing. Out of that thirty to forty, they are only an average of five years old. A typical orchard in full production will get about five thousand pounds to the acre, and right now they are probably getting an average of a thousand pounds to the acre.
A fully matured hazelnut tree is usually around twenty years old with a lifespan lasting roughly fifty to sixty years. This means that Fraser Valley hazelnuts will likely have steady exponential growth for years to come. There are about 500 acres planted in the Fraser Valley at the current moment. If that is ever in full production someday, that’s about 2.5 million pounds, eventually. Hence, this proves that there definitely is a lot of potential. Both local and international demand are high enough for the nuts to sell out.
Usually, the local sellers, sell out within a couple of weeks. There is so much demand and so little actual supply right now. This time a year sellers sell a lot of in-shell. Moreover, a lot of these nuts are sold to a lot of grocery stores, like farmers markets. In fact, it is a seasonal thing, everyone sits by the fire, traditionally, and cracks nuts and eats them. That is kind of traditionally how people have eaten them, so there is still a pretty good market for that.
Article by: Hari Yellina (Orchard Tech)