Helmut Hooge (white baseball cap) takes visitors on a tour of his hazelnut farm on Saturday. Over the past six years, three different varieties of blight-resistant trees have been planted on his farm. (Jenna Hauck/ The Progress)

Chilliwack farmer has high hopes for hazelnuts

Field day held Saturday in Chilliwack was to showcase resurgence of the hazelnut industry

Chilliwack hazelnut farmer Helmut Hooge has high hopes for the future of hazelnuts.

He hosted the BC Hazelnut Growers Association’s field day at his farm Saturday, showcasing the resurgence of hazelnut production in the Fraser Valley.

“There was a fair bit of interest,” he said. “Everyone was amazed at how big the trees were.”

READ MORE: Resuming hazelnut production

Hooge, former president of the BCHGA, was one of the farmers participating in trials of three distinct varieties of hazelnut trees, and their pollinators. And now he’s also glad to show how they’re doing.

Prospective and former hazelnut farmers, as well as agriculture students and profs, were among the crowd of more than 100 who showed up to the field day.

There were experts giving harvesting and pruning tips, as well as a tour of the fields.

The industry is starting to get re-established after being devastated by Eastern Filbert Blight. It first showed up in Chilliwack on 2008.

Everyone’s crops had to be removed and burned.

READ MORE: Industry decimated

But today the future looks a lot brighter.

So much so that it was Hooge’s hazelnuts from Chilliwack, that were specially ordered one year ago by Chef Ned Bell and served to Prince William and Kate, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, at a Taste of BC event in Kelowna.

The Fraser Valley has near ideal growing conditions, and not that many other places in the world can claim that.

“It’s our winter climate,” said Hooge.

Hazelnuts flower in the middle of winter, in January, as long as the temperatures are mild enough.

Some filbert farmers are starting over, like Hooge, having replanted with special blight-resistant varieties.

“Our industry wants to get back to where it once was in terms of production,” Hooge said. “We think there will be more acres planted in the years to come.”

In its heyday they had 1,200 acres in production. Now they’re aiming to get 1,000 acres going.

“We know the industry is going to grow again and it means that marketing is going to improve as well,” he said.


 

@chwkjourno
jfeinberg@theprogress.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

(Jenna Hauck/ The Progress)

(Jenna Hauck/ The Progress)

(Jenna Hauck/ The Progress)

Helmut Hooge does a pruning demo on his hazelnut farm on Saturday. Over the past six years, three different varieties of blight-resistant trees have been planted on his farm. (Jenna Hauck/ The Progress)

(Jenna Hauck/ The Progress)

Just Posted

UPDATE: Chilliwack youth coach acquitted of sexual touching of a minor

BC Supreme Court justice finds reasonable doubt despite not believing the accused

Motorists were ‘driving like their own Indy 500’ before fatal Abbotsford crash, court hears

Family member declares defence request for 90-day jail sentence a ‘joke’

World champion SFU Pipe Band comes to Chilliwack

SFU Pipe Band will put on a celebration of culture, music and heritage at Chilliwack Cultural Centre

Seven Days in Chilliwack

A list of community events happening in Chilliwack from Feb. 24 to March 1

Chilliwack biologist to speak on climate change at Green Party AGM

Dr. Carin Bondar is an author, adjunct professor and an explorer who has discovered new species

VIDEO: Illicit drug overdoses killed 981 in B.C. in 2019, down 38%

Chief coroner says figures were down about a third in the province’s fourth year of the opioid crisis

UPDATE: Protesters dismantle blockade on Maple Ridge tracks

West Coast Express train service is expected to run again Tuesday morning

VIDEO: B.C.’s seventh coronavirus patient at home in Fraser Health region

Canada in ‘containment’ as COVID-19 spreads in other countries

B.C. takes over another Retirement Concepts senior care home

Summerland facility latest to have administrator appointed

Man pleads guilty to stabbing woman, off-duty cop outside North Delta elementary school

The suspect, whose name is under a publication ban, faced 10 charges in relation to this incident

RCMP pull office from Wet’suwet’en territory, but hereditary chiefs still want patrols to end

Chief says temporary closure of field office not enough as Coastal GasLink pipeline dispute drags on

Prescription opioids getting B.C. addicts off ‘poisoned’ street drugs

Minister Judy Darcy says Abbotsford pilot project working

Royals, Elvis, Captain Cook: Hundreds of wax figures find new life in B.C. man’s home

Former director of Victoria’s Royal London Wax Museum still hopes to revive wax figure tourism

Teck CEO says Frontier withdrawal a result of tensions over climate, reconciliation

Don Lindsay speaks at mining conference, a day after announcing suspension of oilsands project

Most Read