Hazelnut harvest falls short of expectations

SALEM, Ore. (AP) — Hazelnut growers in Oregon were anticipating a record-high crop in 2018, although it appears the harvest is coming in short of expectations.

The Capital Press reported Monday that the USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service predicted 52,000 tons of hazelnuts in August, which would have beaten the previous record of 49,500 tons in 2001.

Instead, local processors say they are looking at between 46,000 to 48,000 tons, which is higher than last year’s total of 32,000 tons but still not on par with increases in handling capacity.

Larry George, president and CEO of George Packing Company in Newberg, said he doesn’t know exactly why hazelnut yields did not meet record forecasts.

He says it could be that a new nut variety didn’t perform as well and/or that growers harvested fewer early season orchards due to low prices caused by economic turmoil.