Updated July 2015 by Christina Romero, AgMRC, California Polytechnic University, Pomona.
U.S. chestnut production is less than 1 percent of total world production. The United States had 919 farms producing chestnuts on more than 3,700 acres.
The states with the most chestnut acreage were Michigan, Florida, California, Oregon, Virginia, and Iowa. (NASS 2015)
The United States imported 3,781 metric tons of chestnuts valued at $12.4 million in 2011. Chestnut imports to the United States are led by Italy, China, and South Korea. The USDA does not report statistics on U.S. chestnut production and consumption separately.
The value of the nut is related to its size. Generally, the value of chestnuts ranges from $1.50 per pound wholesale to about $5 per pound retail. Chestnuts are primarily sold fresh in the shell.
Value Added Options
Added markets may be but not limited to farmers markets, specialty grocery stores, wholesale purveyors, pre-packaged food processors, vegetarian food processors, ethnic markets, restaurant food purveyors, mail order businesses and seasonal food processors.
Agritourism and u-pick farms have a growing consumer base, allowing an interactive experience with the consumer.
Helpful enterprise budget for chestnuts:
2012 Census of Agriculture, National Ag Statistics Service (NASS), USDA, 2015.
Foreign Agricultural Service, FAS, USDA.
Chestnut Growers of America - Online resources for chestnut growers and researchers.
Northern Nut Growers Association, Inc. - This website provides information and resources related to nut tree production. Select the “experts” link to find people who specialize in chestnuts.
Why Chestnuts? Center for Agroforestry, University of Missouri - Provides the nutritional value of chestnuts.
Assessing the Market Potential of Specialty Forest Products in Local Food Systems, Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture, Iowa State University, 2005 - This project evaluated the interest in and obstacles to the production and marketing of non-timber specialty forest products.
Chestnut Culture in California, University of California, 2000 - This online document covers production, consumption including world demand and marketing.
- Chestnut Charlie's, Lawrence, Kan. - This farm offers certified organic chestnuts, along with pecans and Christmas trees.
- Chestnut Growers Inc. - This for-profit grower cooperative for chestnut processing and marketing includes growers in Michigan, Ohio, Illinois and Washington State. In addition to whole nuts, the cooperative sells peeled frozen chestnuts, chestnut slices and flour.
- Chestnut Hill Tree Farm, Alachua, Fla. - This farm is owned by the grandson of Dr. R.T. Dunstan, a plant breeder who developed the Dunstan Hybrid Chestnut. The Dunstan Chestnut is the most widely planted line of chestnut varieties in the United States.
- ChestnutsOnLine.com - The Allen Creek Farm in Ridgefield, Wash., ships chestnuts from the orchards to anywhere in the United States and Canada. The site also offers a growers’ forum.
- Correia Chestnut Farm, located in the Sacramento River Delta in California, raises and sells Colossal and Italian Marroni varieties of chestnuts. This small family farm has been raising chestnuts since 1998, using sustainable farming practices.
- DelMarvelous Farms - This chestnut farm, based in the Delaware peninsula, has more than 1,600 chestnut trees. It grows and ships chestnuts to customers across the United States. The website also offers recipes and tips on how to prepare and store fresh chestnuts.
- Empire Chestnut Company, Carrollton, Ohio - This company operates one of the few chestnut orchards in the United States considered to be commercial in size. The orchard produces nursery stock and between 10,000 and 30,000 pounds of nuts annually.
- Nolin River Nut Tree Nursery, Upton, Ky. - This family-owned and -operated nursery markets grafted nut trees. In addition to chestnuts, the nursery also offers walnuts, butternuts, pecans and hickories.
- Southeast Iowa Nut Growers Co-op, Ag Marketing Resource Center - This business profile tells about a group of about 40 chestnut growers who pool their crop and sell it through a marketing coordinator.
Links checked July 2015