Fall meeting

posted in: Uncategorized | 5

On October 3rd, the PNGA converged in Lancaster, PA for the annual fall board of directors meeting, followed by an orchard tour at Jere Groff’s house. After a hearty meal of pulled pork sandwiches, chicken stew, and homemade ice cream (topped with home grown honey walnuts!), we headed outside to see firsthand a true Pennsylvanian nut orchard.

There was a nursery of grafted trees, chestnuts descended from the Dunstan chestnut project, carpathian walnuts that could be cracked in one’s palm, hickories, pecans, butternuts, and hazelnuts.

I had the opportunity to sample my first ever hickory nut, and I was surprised by how good it was. It was very similar to a pecan. If I had been blindfolded, I would not have known the difference. I also sampled my first butternut. I was struck by the enormity of this beautiful old tree that had managed to stay healthy while most other butternuts in the area were succumbing to disease. For years I had looked for an edible specimen, only to find hollow shells, the trees too sick to produce seed.

Butternuts are in the walnut family and aren’t easy to crack open. Some say they don’t even taste that good. But this week I learned the secret to good eating. You have to remove the husk while it is still green. If it begins to blacken, the juices seep through the nutshell and taint the flavor of the nut. Like the hickory, I cracked it open with a hammer and ate it¬†raw like the Native Americans did. The flavor was delicate and pleasant. Another sample had begun to turn black, so I followed the advice I was given and roasted it first. It tasted like popcorn.

Check out the gallery for more photos of the tour.

5 Responses

  1. Linda Loiseleur

    I’m getting ready to mail in my membership form, but am wondering when and where your next meeting will be. Sadly, I just missed your July meeting.

  2. Shelia tidmore

    I would like to know if you can provide me with names of farms that grow single sourced tree nuts. My daughter is allergic to peanuts. She is doing a tree nut challenge of each type of tree but for one week each. We are trying to see if she can tolerate tree nuts. It is hard to find tree nuts that are not contaminated with peanuts or other nuts. We did find a pecan grower and a almond grower in California.
    Many thanks for your help.
    Shelia Tidmore

  3. Donald Jackson

    Hi Elizabeth,

    What a great job you did to finally make our website attractive and very informative.
    Thank you so much for all of the wonderful pictures. I look forward to future updates and hope you can join us at the Farm Show.

    Don Jackson

    • Elizabeth X Kligge

      Thanks Don! I hope to be there as well. And the website will continue to grow, in between getting some of my other projects done…

    • shawn samperi

      Don, I met you at the farm show and have been trying to call you to set up a purchase of the great nut cracker you had on display but were sold out of…please let me know how I can arrange the purchase. Thanks, Shawn 973-207-0848