As the week closes out, we have no apologies for getting a little nutty with glee over bringing you the scoop on Z's Nutty Ridge. So, read on, dear friend, to learn how hazelnut bushes and chestnut trees are being cultivated in the Cortland area!
SVHC: How long have you been growing nut tress in Cortland County?
ZNR: Z’s Nutty Ridge was officially formed in 2011 but has been growing nut trees for 20+ years.
SVHC: Cultivating nut trees in this region is a unique approach--how did Z's Nutty Ridge start?
ZNR: Dawn and I (Jeff) moved to Cortland on a hilltop overlooking the valley on Route 13 back in 1992 on. The valley views are stunning! However, we realized the hillside fields were returning back to trees because they were abandoned by farmers. Taking natures lead, the hunt was on to find native trees that would provide a sustainable crop for the region and our family. We settled on growing native hazelnut and chestnut trees. After 26 years of growing and breeding trees that build on the efforts of hybridizers that came 70 years before, we now have nut trees proven to grow in the region. Dawn formed Z’s Nutty Ridge in 2011 growing CEA hydroponic lettuce. Working with SUNY ESF, the farm has expanded to tissue culturing chestnuts and are working to bring hazelnuts into tissue culture.
SVHC: What products or goods do you make or grow?
ZNR: We are a nut tree nursery that produces mainly hazelnuts and chestnuts trees.
SVHC: What has been your biggest joy as a local grower?
ZNR: We have loved finding (and then growing!) a good product that will be highly wanted by many in the future.
SVHC: What has been your greatest challenge as a local nut tree grower?
ZNR: We'd have to say the loss of many hand-planted trees in order to find the perfect tree for this region.
SVHC: If you could tell your community one thing, what would it be?
ZNR: If you enjoy trees and living in the country, why not grow a tree that produces a tasty product?
SVHC: How can the community connect with you or Dawn, or purchase your trees or nuts?
ZNR: You can get in touch with us via our website or give us a call at 607-756-4409. Also, we post regularly on Facebook--so make sure to friend us!