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Southern Ontario could be a hazelnut haven

Turkey is currently the global leader in hazelnut production

By Diego Flammini
Assistant Editor, North American Content

According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, Turkey is the world leader in hazelnut production, “accounting for about 72.9 per cent of the total world supply.”

However, a hazelnut shortage has left the industry looking for other areas to produce the crop and one such place could be Southern Ontario.

The Media Team is at the Ontario Hazelnut Association’s 7th Annual Ontario Hazelnut Symposium in London, Ontario. While speaking to a packed house, association Director Martin Hodgson estimated the demand for hazelnuts in Ontario, could warrant nearly 40,000 acres of production.

Hazelnut meeting

The acreage estimate includes the Ferrero plant in Brantford. The company that makes Nutella and Ferrero chocolates signed a long-term purchasing agreement in 2013 to source locally grown hazelnuts.

Currently, Ferrero uses about 100,000 tons, or nearly a quarter of the world’s hazelnut supply annually.

If industry trends continue, farmers could consider making hazelnuts part of their growing plans.

In a 2015 interview with CBC, Scott Deslippe, a member of the association’s board, said Oregon farmers were harvesting nearly 3,000 pounds per acre and receiving about $1.71 U.S. per pound – that’s about $5130.

Where in Ontario can hazelnuts grow?

According to OMAFRA, hazelnuts can grow in areas where temperatures don’t reach   -40°C once every 15 years, in well-drained, seep, moist loam to sandy loam soil with pH levels of 6 to 7.

Thinking of growing hazelnuts? Use an online financial tool to discover the costs of hazelnut production. will continue to cover the symposium and bring you any breaking news.


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