rocket mass heater dvd*
Permies likes woodland and the farmer likes Italian Chestnut trees permies
  Search | Permaculture Wiki | Recent Topics | Flagged Topics | Hot Topics | Zero Replies | World Domination!
Register / Login


permies » forums » growies » woodland
Bookmark "Italian Chestnut trees" Watch "Italian Chestnut trees" New topic
Author

Italian Chestnut trees

Al Loria


Joined: Apr 21, 2010
Posts: 395
Location: New York
I just ate some delicious Italian chestnuts, having roasted them in the oven.  Super sweet.  I checked to see if Italian Chestnut trees are available here and if they would grow in Zone 6.  I could not find anything for Italian Chestnut trees in the US.  Only the American, Asian, Colossal and Nevada variety.  Do these, or any other cultivar, taste as good, and is there any way to get the Italian variety?
tel jetson
steward

Joined: May 17, 2007
Posts: 3097
Location: woodland, washington
    
  53
American chestnuts are the tastiest I've had by a safe margin, though they're also the smallest, least productive, most variable, and some will open up the husks upward so the nuts just sit there waiting for squirrels to eat them.  they are also the easiest to peel.  a variety called "Skookum" is also really tasty, and a lot larger.

Burnt Ridge Nursery has a whole lot of chestnut varieties available, including a couple from Italy and quite a few hybrids.  shipping could end up being substantial if you're not close by, but they're available.


find religion! church
kiva! hyvä! iloinen! pikkumaatila
get stung! beehives
be hospitable! host-a-hive
be antisocial! facespace
rose macaskie


Joined: May 09, 2009
Posts: 2134
I think i read that the chestnut in europe comes from asia, so the italian would be the asian variety maybe. agri rose macsakie.
Al Loria


Joined: Apr 21, 2010
Posts: 395
Location: New York
Tel, thanks for the link.  If the Americans are sweeter, then maybe I should be looking at those.  It looks like most of the chestnut trees form that grower are for the PNW.  Maybe the Connecticut variety would work.  I'll do more investigating on the Americans.
Al Loria


Joined: Apr 21, 2010
Posts: 395
Location: New York
Rose, you very well may be correct.  Another point for me to investigate.

I hate getting started on finding a new tree variety to plant because I can beat it to death coming to a conclusion of which one is best.

Thanks for the input.

tel jetson
steward

Joined: May 17, 2007
Posts: 3097
Location: woodland, washington
    
  53
Al Loria wrote:
Tel, thanks for the link.  If the Americans are sweeter, then maybe I should be looking at those.  It looks like most of the chestnut trees form that grower are for the PNW.  Maybe the Connecticut variety would work.  I'll do more investigating on the Americans.


if you're in the historical range of American chestnuts, that species won't work for you.  they won't grow to maturity before blight gets them.
Al Loria


Joined: Apr 21, 2010
Posts: 395
Location: New York
tel jetson wrote:
if you're in the historical range of American chestnuts, that species won't work for you.  they won't grow to maturity before blight gets them.


Bingo!  That's why I don't see any chestnut trees, except horse chestnut, around here.  New York got the blight around 1904 and it wiped out the American Chestnut in these parts.

I just read an article in Mother earth news about it, and the Asian chestnut is the option here.  Also read in a news article where they have been trying to bring back the American to the northeast by crossing and Asian with an American, getting it to be 15/16ths American, so far.  They have shown to be blight resistant, so, there is hope.

I never take the easy route, like my fig tree that is wrapped up like a mummy to see if it will survive its first winter outside. 

I did find someone who is growing certain hybrid chestnut successfully in New Paltz, NY, about 50 miles form me, and I may investigate this further.
tel jetson
steward

Joined: May 17, 2007
Posts: 3097
Location: woodland, washington
    
  53
the only species that is right out for you is the American, Castanea dentata.  the Europeans, C. sativa have a bit better blight resistance.  and the Asians, C. mollissima and C. crenata, have the best blight resistance of the pure species.  most of the hybrids available have strong resistance, too, and that will probably be your best bet for getting that Italian character you're after.  if you can get your hands on one of those American hybrids, I say go for it.

I've got quite a few mystery chestnut trees.  American is definitely one of the parents, but I'm having trouble figuring out what the other parent is.
Al Loria


Joined: Apr 21, 2010
Posts: 395
Location: New York
Tel,  I think you are right about the hybrids.  From what I can see it would be crazy to try and plant something not blight resistant, only to lose it.  I am not married to the Italian chestnut, and would like to get the hardiest, along with being the sweetest and best eating I can, whatever that turns out to be.

I did find this company which says they have blight resistant Americans. http://www.willisorchards.com/category/Chestnut+Trees

There is also a chestnut tree society in New York City which I think should be able to give me some guidance.  Glad I have the winter months to figure this out.
                                    


Joined: Nov 08, 2010
Posts: 147
Location: Anoka Sand Plain, MN Zone 4/5, Sunset Zone 43
I am looking at getting a couple chestnuts and they'll be from   badgerset.
they have been breeding american chestnuts w/the other varieties.  they also sell hazelnuts.  another option is buying from mark shepard who has been growing chestnuts and hazel nuts for some time at his permaculture farm.
Al Loria


Joined: Apr 21, 2010
Posts: 395
Location: New York
Thanks christhamrin for the links.  I would love to grow the American but know they will get the blight.  I am hoping the work they are doing in Connecticut will produce an American close to the original with blight resistance.

Going to do some research over the weekend and see what I can come up with. 
                                    


Joined: Nov 08, 2010
Posts: 147
Location: Anoka Sand Plain, MN Zone 4/5, Sunset Zone 43
if you get a chance check out badgerset.  their trees do not get blight!
Al Loria


Joined: Apr 21, 2010
Posts: 395
Location: New York
christhamrin wrote:
if you get a chance check out badgerset.  their trees do not get blight!


I did already.  Both were good sites.  Many of the trees from most of the growers I've seen are blight resistant, especially if they are selling to the northeast.  I just can't make up my mind which kind to get.  Having a few months of winter to mull it over should help.
                                    


Joined: Nov 08, 2010
Posts: 147
Location: Anoka Sand Plain, MN Zone 4/5, Sunset Zone 43
yes i am doing the same thing.  i haven't picked a site yet and havent decided if i have spaces for walnuts and chestnuts.  i am def. planning on hazels though.
jacque greenleaf
volunteer

Joined: Jan 21, 2009
Posts: 464
Location: Burton, WA (USDA zone 8, Sunset zone 5) - old hippie heaven
Recently had my first roasted chestnuts, from an orchard in Hood River, Oregon. The farm grows only Colossals. They were seriously delicious.

The guy who owns the orchard is Italian, and I met a couple older members of his family, who lived through WWII in an Italian chestnut-growing region. They talked about how, when they were young, eating chestnuts fuelled their workday. They did not mention, and I did not think to ask, how the flavor of the Colossals compared to what they remembered, but they were as eager to eat them as anyone there.

A local winery was there, selling wine by the glass - dropping a hot, freshly roasted chestnut into a glass of wine is apparently a traditional thing to do. I have to say I liked the chestnuts best just as they came off the heat.

How they roasted the chestnuts was interesting - used a slightly-dished scrap piece of metal over a fire in a metal burn barrel.

They bought their trees from Burnt Ridge in Onalaska, WA. Burnt Ridge sells a number of varieties, including some Italian.

We're planting chestnuts.
Al Loria


Joined: Apr 21, 2010
Posts: 395
Location: New York
christhamrin wrote:
yes i am doing the same thing.  i haven't picked a site yet and havent decided if i have spaces for walnuts and chestnuts.  i am def. planning on hazels though.


No walnuts in the plan but the hazelnuts are on our list too.  My wife loves them, and the thought of having our own has now added to her interest in all of the plantings.  I think we will plant the understory variety as a boundary line to keep the deer content while allowing us to contend with only the squirrels competing for our hazels.  If raccoons like them, we are screwed.  No way to keep those creative buggers off of the nuts without a fence.  The raccoons are making a comeback after rabies killed most of them off.  We had a nice long run of not having to bungee cord the garbage cans, and the nights were so quiet.  A family of them in the back yard created quite a nightly racket this past summer.

Al Loria


Joined: Apr 21, 2010
Posts: 395
Location: New York
Jacque, when I was a kid we would use a pie tin that we made small nail holes in and roast them over live coals.  Awesome with the smokey flavor the fire imparted.  You can also roast them over a gas stove like that.

A glass of wine and chestnuts.  Now you're talking!  I've got both, and you just gave me the impetus to roast a few in the oven.
rose macaskie


Joined: May 09, 2009
Posts: 2134
I read an article on fruit trees in cities in the permaculture magasine and remembered how, as a child  we used to go to Chiswick park in london to shuffle through the leaves looking for chestnuts. There was  a groove of chestnut trees planted in the woodey bit of the park,  we collected them in the autumn cold and took them home to cook by the fire, resting them  on the edge of the smallish coal fire place near enough the heat from the fire to cook.
    Out in the cold and back home to the warm fireplace to eat chestnuts was an experience, I sit in Madrid writting almost all the time and sort of miss out on wallowing in the weather , hours in the sun in summer or being out in ht ecold in winter. cold. I was in Guadaljjara Spain  for hte last two  days and a light snow fall and calls from madrid to say it was snowing there too and that driving could be dangerouse because of the snow added a bit of an edge to things, not to mention the cold i suffered in the house in the evening, and the prettyness of the whited landcscape. Nature adds a bigger than me dimension, somthing i can't control and for that attractive, as well as slightly frightening, if we can control everything instead of having to mol dour activities to natures what a responsability that would be. Who would chose cold if they could avoid it? I suppose life would be a bit monotonouse if we could chose.
    My more recurent thought on the near monop0oly of uneatable trees we grow in towns is, "why can't we ever think of feeding the fauna anywhere"? We dont even bother with them in patches we have not reserved for feeding ourselves, like cities. 
    Wood pidgeons arrive in Madrid in the first part o fhte winter to eat the berries on the decorative japanese privet trees, algustrum japonicum. These trees should better the diet of the  town pidgeons too, though it seems to be taking them i while to learn to sit swinging on the smaller outer twigs of the aligustres so as to pick off the berries as their country cousins do.
    Town pidgeons have  pretty trashy diet bits of white bread made of bleached flour with no fibre and not many vitamins as white bread flour has usually lost its iron filled bran and  wheat germ bit which flies off when milled in modern roller milled systems.
    I have thought of exploring how junky gourmet food can get to be. Pates full of pig fat for instance. sheep sbrain dusted in flour and fried in butter very fatty must make you fat and that gives you colesterol and maybe mad sheep desease.
  As to fruit trees for humans if you are growing food near very big motorways the food may not be too healthy, so growing food in twns is questionable though some city gardens  are not too near motor ways and big roads, and we no longer have much lead in petrol so maybe the negative effect of trafic is no longer theri in cities.  As we are soon to have electirc and such cars, maybe it is time to plant fruit trees in cities as they become prefectly healthy place to grow food.  Another reflection on the subject is that i read in one atricle th t the country was more polluted than the town because of the herbicides and pesticides used in the country that can vilify the air and water. agri rose macaskie.
Al Loria


Joined: Apr 21, 2010
Posts: 395
Location: New York
rose macaskie wrote:
  As we are soon to have electirc and such cars, maybe it is time to plant fruit trees in cities as they become prefectly healthy place to grow food. 


General Motors announced today they are hiring 1000 engineers to work specifically on battery improvement.  Maybe we will get those electric cars after all.
Paul Cereghino
volunteer

Joined: Jan 11, 2010
Posts: 847
Location: South Puget Sound, Salish Sea, Cascadia, North America
    
  15
Good article summarizing status and practice in French Chestnut regions.

http://www.inra.fr/toulouse_dynafor/content/download/3018/30461/version/1/file/Gavaland-Pelletier2006.pdf

Paul Cereghino- Stewardship Institute
Maritime Temperate Coniferous Rainforest - Mild Wet Winter, Dry Summer
Irene Kightley
pollinator

Joined: Apr 13, 2009
Posts: 340
Location: South West France
    
  15
Thanks for posting that article Paul - very interesting !

We live in that region of Périgord and almost every small farmer has a few hectares of Chestnut for eating, building, fencing and shade.

Unfortunately, the old varieties are being killed by canker and the dead or dying trunks are used as firewood which is cheap at the moment... 


La Ferme de Sourrou : Nos projets avec PHOTOS
                                      


Joined: Jan 09, 2011
Posts: 22
Location: Eastern Shore of Virginia
Dunstan chestnut is an American hybrid bred from a disease-resistant American progenitor, and it's supposed to be delicious.  I'll be putting in bunch of these at some point:

http://www.chestnuthilltreefarm.com/Chestnuts.html

The Chestnut Hill folks are great.  Informative website, too.  They're in Florida so they have good trees for southern growers and mid-Atlantic growers.

Suzy Bean
steward

Joined: Apr 05, 2011
Posts: 940
Location: Stevensville, MT
    
    8
Am just now reading a winter 2011 Permaculture Activist mag article on chestnuts. It says that chestnut trees an produce 4,000 lbs per acre (80-100 trees), compared to wheat producing 1800-3000 ls per acre (and not being able to host an understory of other edibles!). It also says that mature (10 yr old) Chinese chestnuts can yield 150-300 lbs per tree. In Europe, it has been called "the bread tree."

Some more tidbits:
"Their leaves can recycle 24 lb of nitrogen and 10 lb of potassium per acre."
"...hogs and black bears didn't taste as good after the chestnuts died."
The tree also makes great timber, medicine, and bark for tanning hides.

The article is also awesome for some thorough "what you need to know"s about raising chestnuts.


www.thehappypermaculturalist.wordpress.com
 
 
subject: Italian Chestnut trees
 
cast iron skillet 49er

more from paul wheaton's glorious empire of web junk: cast iron skillet diatomaceous earth sepp holzer raised garden beds raising chickens lawn care flea control missoula electric heaters permaculture videos permaculture books