By Malinda Geisler, content specialist, Ag Marketing Resource Center, Iowa State University.
Revised April 2012.
U.S. chestnut production is less than 1 percent of total world production. According to the 2007 Census of Agriculture, the United States had 1,200 farms growing chestnuts on more than 3,300 acres. The states with the most chestnut farms were Michigan, Pennsylvania, Oregon, Florida and California.
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. 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.
2007 Census of Agriculture, National Ag Statistics Service (NASS), USDA, 2009.
Chestnut Market Analysis Producers' Perspective, University of Missouri Center for Agroforestry, 2005 - This report describes findings from a 2004 nationwide survey of the U.S. chestnut market.
Chestnut Market Opportunities - Assessing Upscale Restaurant Interest in Value-added Chestnut Products, Southeast Iowa Nut Growers Cooperative, 2002 - This study, conducted for the Southeast Iowa Nut Growers Cooperative by the Food Processing Center at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, indicated marketing opportunities for Midwest chestnut growers.
Global Agricultural Trade System, Foreign Agricultural Service, USDA.
- American Chestnut Cooperators' Foundation - This nonprofit, scientific and educational foundation is dedicated to restoring the American chestnut.
- The American Chestnut Foundation - A nonprofit foundation dedicated to restoring the American chestnut.
- Chestnut Growers of America - Online resources for chestnut growers and researchers.
- Northern Nut Growers Association, Inc. - This Web site 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.
- Center for Agroforestry, University of Missouri.
- Chestnut Culture in California, University of California, 2000 - This online document covers production, consumption including world demand and marketing.
- Chestnut Fact Sheets, Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station - Under the Publications heading are several fact sheets compiled by the Connecticut Ag Experiment Station on chestnuts. Topics include breeding, cultivars, diseases and tree sources.
- The Chestnut Grower’s Primer - Basic information for growing chestnuts in Iowa is outlined in this case study. Types and history of chestnuts are included, along with advantages and disadvantages to consider before planting chestnuts for a cash crop. Steps for developing a successful chestnut crop are outlined, including how to develop a planting plan, plant care and maintenance, and how to overcome potential problems.
- Chinese Chestnuts, University of Kentucky Cooperative Extension Service, 2009.
- Establishing the Orchard, ChestnutsOnLine.com - This site provides estimated costs of establishing a chestnut orchard.
- Growing Chestnuts for Commercial Markets in Michigan and other Midwest states: A pioneer industry, Michigan State University - This is an online guide on chestnut cultivation in the Midwest.
- Growing Chinese Chestnuts in Missouri, University of Missouri Center for Agroforestry, 2009 - This online guide, written for Missouri, includes a grower's calendar.
- Chestnut Charlie's, Lawrence, Kansas - 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, Florida - 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, Washington, 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 Web site 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, Kentucky - 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 April 2012