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Are Hazelnut Orchards in Ontario a viable crop?

Are Hazelnut Orchards in Ontario a viable crop?

Will hazelnut crops become a profitable crop for some Ontario farmers?

Ferrero, the third biggest chocolate company in world, has a plant in Brantford, Ontario that produces millions of Ferrero Rocher chocolates each day as well as a range of Nutella products.  The Brantford Ferrero plant currently imports over 11,000 tonnes of hazelnuts each year.  Can Ontario develop a viable hazelnut industry ? 

The Ontario Hazelnut Association (OHA), in partnership with Ferrero Canada, and the Society of Ontario Nut Growers has been undertaking a hazelnut grower trial on six farms throughout Ontario.  If you are a farmer interested in potentially growing hazelnuts, you may be interested in attending one of two Hazelnut Grower open houses on September 9 and 10, 2017. 

The OHA open houses are designed to provide those interested in becoming hazelnut growers in Ontario with an opportunity to learn from those who have already planted trees.  Each of the six different growers in the trial program has taken a slightly different approach, and these last two open houses in the series will present different topics, and are located in different growing zones with different soil types.  The Open Houses are free to attend and open to all.

On Saturday, September 9, OHA will host a tour of the Grower Trial Program in Port Dover Ontario.  Graham Dyer, President and CEO of, will walk through a tour of the Port Dover Farm orchard and talk about the experiences in the Port Dover Farm’s first year after planting ten acres of high-density (270 trees per acre) hazelnuts in Spring 2016. 


Hazelnut trees at Port Dover Farms

    Hazelnut trees planted in Port Dover, Ontario

The Open House will include a Field tour where three different aspects of the orchard will be discussed: 

  • Site selection and planning – irrigation, drainage, varietals
  • Planting process – how did the trials get planted
  • Post planting care -- irrigation, weather, disease, weed management, equipment, etc.

The Port Dover Open House will also include a presentation by Barb Yates, Senior Agronomist, Ferrero Canada “Ferrero Plan for Ontario”, as well as a presentation by Dyer “Cracking the Nut - Hazelnut Economics”.   The Open House will conclude with a hazelnut panel Q & A session featuring Linda Grimo, Chair OHA, Yates, and Dyer.

The September 10 Open House will be held on September 10 at Nutcracker Ridge Farm near Uxbridge, Ontario.

The Nutcracker Ridge Farm Open House will also feature a presentation Grimo on the history of the Grower Trial program, Yates with “Ferrero Plan for Ontario”, as well as a presentation by Les High, Highview Orchards, on Hazelnut Economics. 

In the afternoon, the Open House will feature a look at the East Field, which is planted with 1 and 2-year old hazelnuts trees, and the West Field, which features 3-year old hazelnut trees.  Discussions during the final session of the day will include tree maintenance, aggregation, processing and sales, as well as a Q & A panel.  Finally, the Nutcracker Ridge Farm Open House will feature music and a social evening. 

To register for one of the Hazelnut Open Houses:

September 9 Open House

September 10 Open House