[NAFEX] Badgersett hazelnuts

Donna &/or Kieran holycow at cookeville.com
Sat Jun 23 19:40:28 EDT 2007

Steve,  You have Badgersett hazels???  Can you tell me how big the nuts are? 
I hemmed and hawed for about 4 years before ordering mine, just got them a 
month ago and had to put them in pots as the ground is too dry in the 
drought.  The longer I waited, the more curious and puzzled I got.  His site 
is not hard to find, and he talks on it like they sell a lot of their 
seedlings, but I couldn't find even one reference to his place or his stuff 
on the Net.  He has a pretty impressive amount of literature on hazels and 
chestnuts on the net, including the translation of a valuable document from 
China on chestnuts.  He is apparently a past president of the American 
Chestnut Foundation, apparently back in the days when he was around other 
people.  He has probably stepped on some toes, and it's obvious from his 
website that he doesn't suffer fools gladly.  But I was getting sort of 
nervous about the fact that nothing at all was being said on the Net about 
his projects.  And I'd talked to Cecil Farris's widow who said I should 
definitely get named varieties.  But Grinnell, Farris's friend, said he was 
dropping the hazels because they didn't graft well.  I don't want grafted 
plants anyway, the whole idea sounds stupid to me because a) they sucker 
really badly so you lose your graft in a thicket of rootstock, and b) they 
sucker so much that they are extremely easy to propagate on their own roots. 
Nobody else seemed to be carrying Farris's stuff.
    I finally called Badgersett's county extension service and wound up 
talking to 2 agents, one of them in forestry.  Both seemed to think 
Badgersett's stuff was pretty neat.  One told me that he hired Amish 
teenagers to hand pollinate some of his best plants.  One warned me that 
because they were seedlings that they wouldn't be uniform.  He said one bush 
might get 10' tall and the one beside it only grow to 3'.  I said I didn't 
care about that.  Neither person had anything bad to say about the place or 
the plants.  So I put in my order.
    I have recently talked to someone at Rutgers I think, a NNGA member 
working with hazels, and he said that there had been some mixups of Farris's 
stuff that led to some people thinking it wasn't disease resistant.  He said 
the real Grand Traverse was indeed blight resistant and a good variety.
    The reason I'm doing all this looking for hazels is that the wild ones 
are all over our place, and seedlings keep popping up.  I don't see all that 
many nuts, partly because the bigger bushes had been getting shaded out but 
that has been reversed now.  I'm figuring that hazels like our soil, and 
that with some added phosphate they might put on some pretty decent crops. 
Only trouble is that they make small nuts with thick shells that don't taste 
as good as European hazels.  Farris talked a lot about flavor and oil 
content.  If I get some good plants going I'l probably do some grafting to 
ours just to up the production, not because it's an efficient way to 
propagate them.
    Anyway, anything you can tell me about the stuff you got from Phil would 
be helpful.  Also, I'm looking for anyone who has any of Cecil's plants. 

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