What you get with Birkemeier Farms …

When purchasing trees from Birkemeier Farms, Inc, you get more than just great filbert trees.

We have the advantage of experience from the prospective of a grower, nurseryman and processor. Let me briefly explain.

Rich has been active in the hazelnut industry for over 40 years. He served as President of the Nut Society in 1979, was Nut Grower of the year in 1988 and has served on the Hazelnut Commission for over 12 years. In many industry meetings you will see him up front sharing his experience.

In 1978, Willamette Filbert Growers, Inc. was established in Newberg. Along with the Mitchell and Newell farms, we became processors then shellers, with the start-up of Willamette Shelling.

In 1990, with heavy Eastern Filbert Blight pressure in our Ennis orchard, Rich was “forced” to learn propagation. We learned to graft with OSU experimental variety 243.002 (later released as Lewis) for replacement trees on our farm. In 2003 we planted the first ever micropropatated filbert orchard, later to become Yamhill. Since then our nursery has expanded with stool-beds and greenhouses.

So, what do you get?

*  #1 filbert trees that are graded for quality.

*  Lenient Replacement policy. (Please no tractor blight!)

*  Personal consultation for questions, support and encouragement for planning, establishing and maintaining your orchard.

*  We work with you concerning delivery – right to your field if necessary.

And There Is More…..

Planting available for your scribed, prepared field starting at $1.25 per tree.  Limited availability.
 Call or email for more information.      Loren_Birkemeier@hotmail.com

Supporting OSU Breeding Program:

Upon final payment for each non-patented tree purchased from BFI, we donate $.50 to the Agricultural Research Foundation, earmarked for the exclusive use of Dr. Shawn Mehlenbacher in the Hazelnut Breeding Program and Nik Wiman, OSU Extension Agent for Hazelnuts. This tax deductible donation is given in the name of the grower purchasing trees. 100% of these funds go to the Program designated – no overhead.

SO, When you are searching for a FULL SERVICE nursery for your hazelnut trees, please consider Birkemeier Farms.  We are nurserymen with a Growers’ perspective.

Posted in Hazelnuts, How To, New Tree Care, Nursery | Tagged , , ,

Hazelnut Breeding Program Video

Last Fall Dr. Shawn Mehlenbacher made a video about the Hazelnut Breeding Program.  It was just released.  Short and Sweet and very well done.


Posted in Hazelnuts, Just For Fun

Orchard Floor Prep

During the month of August, we prepare the Filbert orchard floor for harvesting the hazelnuts.  All season we have been spraying out the weeds and suckers in the tree rows, so they are pretty much clean at this point. We take one last time through with sucker spray just before the nuts fall.

This year we made a tire drag (see photo) to pull between our trees to break up dirt clods and knock down mole hills in the tree row.  This is pulled by the quad or gator. We are removing trees in the orchard (10X20 spacing) as they get seriously sick from EFB, so we have open spaces in our close planted orchards.  These spaces are also smoothed with our tire drag.  This allows the blower on the sweeper to move the nuts in the tree row more effectively.

We have also been scraping the alleyway between the tree rows.  The idea is to get it as clean and flat as possible. This makes fewer dips for the hazelnuts to lay in and be missed by the harvester.  We go through the orchards between 3 and 6 times with our scraper in the 6 weeks before the nuts fall.

3 large truck tires bolted together with back plates, pulled between the close planted trees.

The orchard floor ready for nut fall.

Posted in Harvest, Hazelnuts, How To, Orchard Care | Tagged

New Growers’ Forum

Rich Birkemeier and Ben Mitchell, hosted by Willamette Hazelnut Growers, Inc. conducted our 4th New Grower’s and Planting Forum on Saturday, Sept. 8.  We had over 70 in attendance, many whom indicated they were new to the hazelnut industry.

Michael Severeid, Sales Manager for WHG, gave a brief presentation on his recent sales trip to China.  He had slides of the hazelnuts grown in China and many samples of hazelnuts marketed in China.

Rich and Ben presented information on varieties, spacing, blight and new plantings.  Pizza, veggies and cookies were served at lunchtime. Ben took those interested into the field to see blight in Jefferson and a pruning demonstration for new plantings.  The feedback was great.  We decided it was much warmer to hold our meeting in September than November. The weather was beautiful.

If you are interested in attending a grower forum with WHG, please contact Michael at Juliana@willamettehazelnuts.com to be put on the notification list.  We have conducted these forums in the early spring and late fall.  As long as we have interest, we will continue to present this information.  Our goal is to help each and every one of our new hazelnut growers to succeed.

Over 70 hazelnut growers attended our 4th New Growers’ Forum at Willamette Hazelnut Growers

Posted in Hazelnuts, How To, Just For Fun | Tagged

British Columbia Filbert Tour

Rich and Nancy had the privilege of attending the British Columbia Hazelnut Tour in Agassi / Chilliwack, B.C. on Aug 23.  Pentti and Deborah Hanninen invited us to bunk at their beautiful home, overlooking a mature Barcelona orchard, in Chilliwack.

The BC hazelnut growers, about 800 acres total, are facing the same Eastern Filbert Blight issues that have concerned Oregon growers, they are just about 10 years behind us. Due to import restrictions, they are having to start the new varieties in-vitro.  They are doing some testing on OSU released varieties to determine pollen shed and bloom timing for their area.  All in all, we see an industry that is moving forward. They have blight, in some cases it is pretty serious, but they have the advantage of watching to see how we have handled it in the states, so they are a huge step ahead of where we were in the beginning.

In part, due to very high land prices, most of the hazelnut orchards are small organic farms. Many of the growers have integrated operations from growing to value added products.  Their variety of products is impressive – and tasty!

The Fraser River Valley is an amazingly beautiful area.  The growers, though few in number, are warm, hospitable people.  We enjoyed our visit immensely.

Chipping demonstration of mature filbert tree infected with Eastern Filbert Blight.

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P.S.U. Farmscapes

Today we had the pleasure of hosting a group of Portland State University students from Barbara Brower’s Geography “Farmscapes” class.   Each summer Ms. Brower takes a group of her students on an Agricultural tour of the Willamette Valley.  This year Hazelnuts were one of the crops they learned about.

Rich visited with the students about the history of Hazelnuts in Oregon, our personal history as a family farm and the good, bad and ugly of farming Hazelnuts today. The students asked many intelligent questions and seemed very interested in spite of the very “summer” day we were having.  It is heartening to be able to share some farm with urban residents.

Portland State University students learn about Hazelnut farming.

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Hazelnut Farm Visit

This week we had the honor of being on the tour agenda for the OSU “Discovering Willamette Valley Agriculture” course. This class is offered through Oregon State University and is designed for K-12 educators, county commissioners, state legislators, high school and university students, as well as interested community members with little or no agricultural background.

The objective of the course was to learn about agriculture from farmers, what it takes to make a living as a member of a farming family, and the kind of decisions that impact your financial success.  We were only one of many farm businesses that were visited.

Rich spoke about the history of our farm, the involvement of the members of our family, and the biggest trials and challenges that we face as an agricultural business.  We had a beautiful sunny morning to meet in the orchard. Later, we joined the group at St. Josef’s Winery for a very nice lunch.

Discovering Willamette Valley Agriculture

July 10 visit from OSU discovering ag group

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Skunk Stink On Your Dog!

Skunks don’t play fair!

We know all about skunks. This time of year they form a convoy that snakes through the orchard scratching out worms and bugs.  I actually think they are pretty cute: Mamma with all her babies, tails held high, nose to tail as they wobble along.

Skunks do dig, sometimes extensively, in the orchards.  The most annoying problem they cause for us is as playmates for the dogs.  They just don’t play fair.  We have tried all kinds of recipes for getting the stink off the dogs (or kids for that matter!).  We finally stumbled across one that actually works fabulously.  I am sorry we did not note the person responsible for supplying this extraordinary suggestion, but we would like to pass it on.

Skunk Stink Remover Recipe

  • 2 cups of Peroxide
  • 1/4 cup baking soda
  • Dawn dish soap
  • Hose

Get out your hose, put on your rain gear (depending on how big your dog is….) and get a plastic pitcher.

Pour the peroxide into the pitcher.  Add about a teaspoon of Dawn and swirl it around. Get your dog ready before you put in the baking soda.  When everything is ready – mix in the baking soda (it will foam with the chemical reaction) and immediately pour the mixture over the dog. Scrub it like shampooing, making sure you get all the potential skunk areas.  The Dawn will burn their eyes and the peroxide will make them drool, but it gets out the skunk better than anything we have ever tried.  Hose them off completely and stand back.

Every drop of skunk stink will be gone.  Believe me, we have a new, young mastiff, and she has gotten hit 4 times so far this summer. She is getting smarter. At least no more direct hits!  I don’t know if she is figuring out that skunks stink, or if she really hates these cold baths!



Posted in Hazelnuts, How To, Just For Fun | Tagged

Hazelnuts – A NUTritional Food


Health Benefits from Hazelnuts

Hazelnuts are GOOD for you

Nutrition and YOU

Fun Facts About Filberts

Did you know…..?


Consortium Recipes

Roasting and Storage


Posted in Hazelnuts, How To, Just For Fun | Tagged

Now Showing – New Hazelnut Crop

For the last month we have been visiting the filbert orchards regularly to look at the fall nut crop.  Of course, it has been too early to see what the hazelnut set is, but you have to look!

Now, the end of May, first of June, we are beginning to get a glimpse at what our fall filbert crop might look like.  Nuts begin to form in May, so it takes a little time for them to show.  Unfortunately, we often see them first on the ground, after a wind or hail storm! Nature’s way of thinning, but how we cringe! By collecting a random sample of what is on the ground, we can get an idea what percentage of terminal leaf shoots have nut clusters on them.  Below is a new filbert nut cluster on a Yamhill variety Filbert tree. Photo was taken May 28.  There appear to be about 6 hazelnuts beginning to develop in this cluster.

Yamhill Hazelnut cluster - June

Posted in Harvest, Hazelnuts, Orchard Care | Tagged , , ,