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The Sustainable Table: Organic Hazelnuts

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EUGENE, Ore. — The winter can be a challenging season for local farmers.

Western Oregon’s constant rain is hard on crops. That’s why some farms are growing products that are good all year, like one farm that grows hazelnuts.

“We’re in our fifth season of growing hazelnuts,” said Linda Perrine, Honor Earth Farm owner.

Not just any hazelnuts–organic hazelnuts.

“I think that’s my personal belief, that agriculture should be done that way. I knew it would be interesting trying to do it with hazelnuts, especially on a 32-acre orchard. The expense of it is pretty high,” Perrine said.

That expense comes from fertilizing the trees and neutralizing the pests in a natural way.

“I’m trying to diversify our farm to add vegetables, berries, maybe some fruit trees and try to bring in some diversity of insects that help to moderate what’s going on in the filbert orchard,” Perrine said.

These acres of trees produce about 20,000 pounds of nuts that get dried–and in some cases shelled–before they end up on a table at a local farmer’s market. On Fridays that means Sprout Marketplace in Springfield.

“I just started a couple weeks ago. I was at the summer Springfield market. I’d been doing that for a couple of years,” Perrine said.

Perrine hopes to generate year-round interest in what’s used to be a seasonal business.

“There’s huge interest in local food, as we all know, and Lane County is just blessed with a beautiful climate and many opportunities right around Eugene and Springfield for great farmland,” Perrine said.

To learn more about Honor Earth Farm, click here.

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