Thursday, November 17, 2011

Acorn Cracking Davebilt Style


Mark next to his Hazelnut dryer
Our Garry Oak (Quercus garryana) and English Oak (Quercus robur) acorns had been drying for several weeks on baking sheets and the time was finally right for cracking them.  I called up Mark, a Filbert (Corylus avellana) farmer based in Everson to see if I could use his Davebilt hand crank nut cracker to remove the shells from all of our acorns.  He welcomed us over and we went down to his shop to get the nutcracker.  He showed me an extremely heavy duty, stainless steel, 1.5 hp, electric nutcracker that he has just finished fabricating to keep up with the growing production of his orchard.  

The Davebilt gobbling our acorns
Many of his tools would easily translate over to acorn harvesting.  He is working on some padded hooks for shaking the nuts out of the tree branches; he has sieves to sort the nuts into different sizes; and a large forced air nut drying box to dehydrate the nuts to 9 percent; and of course, he has those dandy nutcrackers.

Smoked Chum Salmon
Using the Davebilt, we cracked our 28 lbs of dried Garry Oak acorns and 12 lbs of dried English Oak acorns in about an hour.  It was difficult to say for sure how long the process took because I kept on picking Mark’s brain for more information about his orchard.  We left with a 10 lbs bag of his Barcelona variety Hazelnuts that only cost $30!  As a token of gratitude for letting us use his Davebilt, I gave him some of the Chum that I just finished smoking.
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