Ontario Hazelnut Symposium scheduled for March 28

The Ontario Hazelnut Association is hosting its 8th annual Ontario Hazelnut Symposium on March 28 in Brantford, Ont. The conference’s theme is “The Future of Hazelnuts in Ontario.” Attendees will include growers, government organizations and members of the academic community who are interested in the future of hazelnut production in Ontario. Event organizers say the conference is a good chance for growers unfamiliar with hazelnuts to gain valuable information about an increasingly popular crop.

“We want to lay out a plan for industry expansion,” Andrew Nixon, project coordinator with the Ontario Hazelnut Association, told Farms.com. “Ferrero Canada Inc., makers of Ferrero Rocher chocolates and Nutella, has said they would like to see 23,000 acres of hazelnuts planted in the province by 2023, so we’ll lay out a roadmap for how to get to that point.”

Part of the conference’s schedule includes announcing results from recent commercial field trials. Six growers throughout the province planted 10 acres each of hazelnuts. All of the growers will be on hand to share their experiences in the first year.

“We ended up planting a bit late and ended up hitting a drought,” Sara Rowland, one of the growers involved in the trials, told Farms.com. “But it was a labour of love.”

Rowland’s operation is about 13 acres and includes around 2,900 hazelnut trees. It’s located near Wardsville in Middlesex County. And despite the challenges she faced, she has tangible information growers can use.

“We now have a commercially viable orchard in the making,” she said. “We’ll be providing lots of analysis.”

Anyone interested in attending the symposium must register here prior to the event. Early bird regsitration closes on March 7.