Category Archives: Nuts

Nuts we grow at Icy Creek

The chestnuts are a falling

I wouldn’t claim this for other areas of my life, but when it comes to our modest patch, I’m starting to figure out what’s meant to happen when. So driving up to Icy Creek yesterday I had a $20 bet with self that, this being the first day of April, and April being chestnut month, there would be chestnuts on the ground when I arrived.

Well guess what, I won. And the first to drop – big ones they were – come from the De Coppi and Purton’s Pride trees in our orchard paddock, one of the only places on our patch where wild deer can’t ravage any branch within two metres of the ground.

We had some tonight on home-made pizza which raddichio (currently starring in the vegie patch) and gorgonzola, and by the time Easter’s over we hope to have put the chestnuts into a rissotto, a soup, and a chicken dish – in other words, anywhere we can until we get sick of them. Did I mention roasting them in the fire?

So summer’s over, but we strung it out a bit with a pie made for our friends Sally and Jonathan, who had a harvest dinner last weekend. There’s a pic of the pie on Sally’s excellent new blog A Season of Sunday’s  (as well as a snap featuring some of our chestnuts).  

I reckon the pie might be the first one in the whole world to combine poached quince, jostaberries, black currants and wild blackberries baked in chocolate pastry. Happy to be proved wrong as always, so just let me know.

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Grazing with Moose

Moose just can't finish that bone!

Moose just can't finish that bone!

Was going to put up a post about our new chestnut and almond trees, but after catching Moose chomping on a bone in the orchard paddock today I thought the horticultural stuff could wait another day.

Train your Labrador to harvest chestnuts

 

And then please tell me what I can do to train mine. 

So where are all the chestnuts?

So where are all the chestnuts?

Labradors are legendary for lots of things, including various forms of human assistance, and, increasingly, truffle hunting. But when it comes to chestnuts, it seems that Moose and Elka could deal with their very own guidance program. I’m sure that it’s not that they don’t want to help. It’s just that the enormity of the task of prising open all those prickly chestnut burrs seems so utterly ridiculous. Maybe they have a point. Something to sleep on.

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First chestnuts of the season

The first chestnuts of 2009

The first chestnuts of 2009

Well I have to admit it was wishful thinking. After all the heat of summer and then a hugely welcome wet spell earlier in the month, we daytripped to the farm just to make sure that the birds wouldn’t be the only ones to devour the season’s first bounty. As it turns out, after trudging around for an hour all so, all we got you can see above. The food mile police will no doubt punish us. But I guess it’s good to know; no matter how fast the climate is changing, chestnuts don’t fall to the ground until April. Which means we’ll be back up there next Saturday.

Farming with Labradors

Moose on high alert under the berry bushes

Moose on high alert under the berry bushes

Even harvesting summer berries can have its solitary side. But not if you have a couple of Chocolate Labradors ignoring your every command. While not as keen on eating redcurrants and jostaberries as his daughter, Elka, six year-old Moose (see above) still enjoys chilling out in the canopy between our redcurrants and blackcurrant bushes, providing welcome paws for thought and companionship, and, as far as can be meaningfully verified, keeps birds, snakes and vermin at bay. Of course, if we had any truffles lurking beneath our four hazelnut trees, they’d be onto them in a flash. In the weeks to come I’ll be posting  a few hundred of my favourite snaps of Moose and Elka hard at work at Icy Creek, but in the meantime, I’m sure you get an idea of how busy we all are from the “action” shots above and below.

Elka having a field day

Elka having a field day

Icy Creek – Fruit and Nut Inventory

 

Midsummer in the main orchard paddock

Midsummer in the main orchard paddock

As well as the chestnuts, we have started up a cool climate orchard with a range of  fruit trees, soft fruit shrubs, and a few other nut trees. Over this summer I’ll set up some pages for some of the season’s star performers (the kiwis and the gooseberries look promising this year), along with some of our newest additions (the perry trees, which are supposed to get enormous in about 50 years)  but here’s a broad overview of what’s in the ground.

APPLE (Pomme de Neige, Peasgood Nonsuch, Red Fuji, Staymans Winesap, Granny Smith, Pink Lady, Gala, Akane, Bramley’s Seedling, Kingston Black, Mutsu, Somerset Redstreak, Michelin, Bulmer’s Norman, Grimes Golden, Frequin Rouge Amer, Cox’s Orange Pippin, Stewart’s Seedling, and Summer Strawberry)

PEAR (William, Packham, Beurre Bosc, Corella)

PERRY PEAR (Gin and Green Horse)

APRICOT (Moorpark)

PLUM (Greengage, Prune D’Agen, President, Coe’s Golden Drop)

PLUCOT

NECTARINE (Goldmine)

CHERRY (Sunburst, Napoleon)

PEACH (Taylor Queen, Anzac)

MEDLAR

GOOSEBERRY (Captivator)

BLACKCURRANT

REDCURRANT

LOGANBERRY

THORNLESS BLACKBERRY

THORNLESS YOUNGBERRY

MULBERRY (English Black)

BLUEBERRY (Denise, Northern, Blue Rose, Brigitta)

JOSTABERRY

QUINCE (Smyrna)

KIWI (Haywood)

POMEGRANATE (Wonderful)

STRAWBERRY (Cambridge Rival)

WALNUT (Hartley, Tehama)

ALMOND

CHESTNUT (Red Spanish, Purdon’s Pride, De Coppe Marone)

HAZELNUT

OLIVE

LEMON (Meyer)

CHINOTTO

ORANGE (Seville)