Wednesday, October 20, 2021

Chestnuts as a Viable Farm Product

via Wikimedia Commons
The first time I ever had chestnuts, so far as I can recall, was just a couple of months ago. I saw them for sale at a local supermarket and picked up a couple of packs. At first I found them off-putting, but once I acquired the taste they were practically addictive. In terms of an agroforestry crop they are a pretty solid option, as you can hear in the audio below from Nebraska Public Media. Greg Heindselman, a chestnut farmer from the northeast Missouri town of Lewistown, Missouri, is interviewed for the report, and suggests that as little as five acres is plenty for a good operation. I'm assuming that means as part of a diverse portfolio of farm products. Here's how the article puts it:

“In a lean year, if you only have 1,000 pounds per acre, that figures right around $6,000 an acre. Now, granted, not all of that is profit,” he said. “That’s still a whole lot better than I can do in grain.”

While the future or chestnut growing in the Midwest appears bright, it’s not all Christmas carols and tasty recipes.

“Growing chestnuts is hard work. It’s labor-intensive, and you always have something to do, almost year-round,” Heindselman said. “But it’s still worth it. It’s a great way to farm.”

It's also worth noting that the professor of my first agroforestry course, Dr. Mike Gold, was also interviewed for this report. 

If I ever have say over what goes onto some farmland, chestnuts will be at the very top of the list. 

'Tremendous Demand' Awaits Chestnuts Grown in Midwest