Why Chestnuts you may ask? After our home construction was complete, Bobbie did
extensive research to determine the highest and best use that we might apply to the un-
planted meadow. The soil was a rich and fertile ancient river bed. Our goals were to find
a "retirement crop" that was well suited to the geographic area and climate with relatively
low maintainence and a potential cash income. Bobbie determined that Chestnuts were a
We purchased the Colossal bare root stock trees from Fowler Nursery in Newcastle,
California and planted in three phases over three years beginning in appx 1998 intending
that the orchard would be a source of retirement income. Today there are appx 900 trees
planted on 20 foot centers. Twenty percent of the trees are “pollenizers” and the pollen is
transferred to the production trees via wind dispersal. The “Colossal” chestnut was
developed by the University of California at Davis to be blight-resistant and to produce
large, sweet desirable fruit. We fertilize one time per year by manually placing granular
fertilizer on the ground in the “drip line” of the tree’s canopy. We mow the orchard floor to
maintain it’s neatness which facilitates orchard health and simplifies harvesting efforts.
The trees are irrigated via an electronically controlled drip system. It is expected that the
trees will achieve a height of appx 30 feet at full maturity. At some point, one can expect to
“remove” every other tree as the trees begin to compete for available sunlight. The
hardwood chestnut trees that are “removed” can be sold for a variety of applications
including gunstock, furniture, cabinetry etc.
In 2005 the orchard produced appx. 5000+ pounds of chestnuts.
We sold all of this production in northern California and Southern
Oregon. It is expected that the orchard production will increase
annually. We seek to sell the chestnuts wholesale for $2.00 to
$3.50 per pound. The average sale price is appx $2.35/pound.
The chestnuts retail for appx. $5 - $7/pound. Thus far we have
made very little effort to sell at retail. It is an avenue that is worthy
of exploring especially as it relates to internet sales.
Harvesting is manual-labor intensive and is accomplished with
family members and local itinerant labor in late September thru
October. Processing, packaging, marketing, sales and delivery
activities make October a busy month. The mild fall weather in
October makes it pleasant to work outdoors in the orchard.
During the remainder of the year, pruning, mowing, painting tree
trunks and maintaining the drip system are relatively low-stress
activities. We expect to transfer all established business aspects
of the orchard with the property.
I will provide training, advice, moral support, existing customer
data, and all details required to produce an ongoing cash
revenue. As the yearly production of the orchard increases, it will
be necessary to develop additional sales outlets. We have
abundant Chestnut educational material to share with a property
buyer. Below, you will find our Chestnut Marketing Brochure.
A Mature Chestnut.
Almost ready to fall from the tree
Roasting over an open fire
Freshly harvested Chestnuts
Soon to be harvested