Joining the Idaho Chestnut Cooperative
As time allows, we will provide more information regarding joining the currently nonexistent "Idaho Chestnut Cooperative."
We hope to establish mutually beneficial relationships with scores of Idaho Panhandle landowners as we improve our environment. Chestnut trees offer many advantages that will be reaped for hundreds of years. Chestnut trees produce every year and can easily reach 500 years old.
There is a bright future for Idaho chestnut orchard landowners.
Idaho Landowners Adopting Chestnut Orchards
I love smelling chestnuts roasting for 30 minutes in the 350 degree oven. Their beautifully golden brown flesh teases the fingers, as I anticipate eating them after resting them for ten minutes in a slightly moistened towel nestled loosely in a large glass mixing bowl. If you attack these sweet nuggets too early, you risk burnt fingers and worse...the blister at the top of the mouth. I speak from experience.
Our objective is to grow lots of chestnuts. So we decided to return to north Idaho and revive the lost chestnut and provide opportunities to our struggling north Idaho communities. Many of our younger generations have to leave Idaho to seek wealth, just as I had. I now return to share opportunity for many small local farmers who may have ten or twenty acres.
Small Landowners' Challenging Position
There are many small farms in Idaho where the landowner allows a local farmer to farm their land. In many cases, the landowner is paid either nothing or very little. These landowners are delighted to have somebody mowing the hay or planting wheat in order to keep the forest from returning.
As most know, ten acres of hay ground or winter wheat is not enough land to sustain a farmer in this modern day of high-tech industrial agriculture. However, a chestnut orchard producing 4,000 pounds annually @ $2.50 to $3.00 per pound offers some interesting opportunities for small farmers.
The problem with the above scenario immediately appears when one considers the local hay or wheat farmer has no long-term vested interest in your land. Consequently, they abuse it miserably. These farmers habitually overwork the land or regularly apply too much nitrogen fertilizer in order to boost short term yields at the expense of the land's long term health.
A keen observer can see many of these fields by looking at Google Maps. The acidic soil appears barren, dried out, lacking vitality evident in lush green healthy enviroments.