Hazelnuts now have a great potential in the Eastern United States with the introduction of blight resistant cultivars that bear large nuts. This is an exciting development for the ability to grow a valuable nut crop in the Eastern US. Our native Hazelnuts have blight resistance/ tolerance but the nut size has never been large enough to compete with commercial nuts from Europe and the west coast. That has now changed. Breeding work done by Thomas Molnar at Rutgers University with cooperation from Shawn Mehlenbacher at Oregon State University has produced a series of large seeded Hazelnuts and the pollinizers needed to make Hazelnuts practical in the East.
Disease resistance, nut size, ease of harvest, tree form, are all factors that make these trees a winner on the farm, yard or homestead.
Raritan is release from Rutgers University. The tree is upright in its growth pattern. Nut size is around 1.14 grams and 48% kernel. The nuts fall free from the husk when ripe. Nuts begin to drop in mid September. Kernels are attractive with very few defects and nuts shell easily. Nuts are good for a variety of baked goods and are particularly good roasted. Raritan will produce without any fungicide sprays but scouting for disease is always good even with resistant varieties.
The Beast is a pollinizer for Raritan that produces a quality nut itself. The Beast was released from Oregon State University. It is a vigorously growing disease resistant hazelnut. The nuts and kernels are slightly smaller than Raritan but growers have been impressed with the high yields enough to plant it in commercial plantings alongside their commercial varieties. The nuts are .9 grams and 44% kernel. Most of the nuts drop free from the husk when ripe. Nuts begin to drop around the same time as Raritan.
Rutgers Seedling Pollinizers
These trees are seedlings from the Rutgers breeding orchard. Nut quality and disease resistance are unknown but they add diversity to the pollen available. There is always the possibility of a true gem when planting seedlings. Nut size and ripening will vary from tree to tree as will disease resistance. Considering all the parents are improved disease resistant varieties, there is a good chance these will be good trees but of course there are no guarantees besides a source of pollen.
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Raritan, The Beast, Rutgers Seedling Pollinizers