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The 2009 ASHS Annual Conference

Advances In Specialty Nut Crops

In this workshop, experts will summarize the status of specialty tree nut crop industries in North America—including both Old World and native New World nut tree species. They will discuss historical challenges and successes of these industries and the potential for each to survive, and even thrive, in the future.
Nut trees have a long history in North America.  Native Americans enjoyed the nutritional value and flavor of nuts from native trees, such as American chestnut, several species of walnut and hickory (including pecan) and piñon, many centuries before Christopher Columbus arrived from Europe.  As Europeans settled in North America in the 16th and 17th centuries, they carried with them their familiar Old World nut trees such as Persian walnut, almond and European filbert, but soon they too found uses for and became fond of the native North American nut trees.

In the 19th and early 20th centuries sizable commercial tree nut industries in North America grew out of some of the Old World imported species, as well as two native nut species.  Due to several factors, including growing worldwide nut demand, falling agronomic crop prices and relatively low labor requirements for nut crop production, commercial nut industries in general have experienced dramatic expansion in North America in recent decades.  With few exceptions (e.g., pistachios), this expansion has been primarily evident in already well-developed nut crop industries, especially almonds and Persian walnuts.     Yet, there has also been renewed interest in development of markets, cultivars, orchard systems and other commercial aspects for several of the lesser known native and Old World nut tree species. 

The speakers in this workshop will give overviews of four specialty tree nut crops—including two Old World species and two North American natives.   In addition to the historical challenges and successes of each of these niche industries, they will discuss what advances are necessary for these industries (and similar industries) to not simply survive, but expand and thrive, in upcoming decades.

Saturday, July 25, 2009: 2:00 PM
Jefferson A (Millennium Hotel St. Louis)
2:30 PM
3:00 PM
Piñon: The Next Orchard Nut Crop?
John Mexal, New Mexico State Univ; John Harrington
3:30 PM
Chinese Chestnut as a Niche Crop
Michele R. Warmund, Ph.D., Univ of Missouri
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