Wednesday, September 25, 2013

My chestnut empire

New things are always a novelty and fun, but I don't think I'll ever get tired of my chestnut tree!  As I mentioned before, it's one of my favorite trees because it's so cool looking.  Now it's chestnut harvesting time and it has been crazy!  (i nearly said "nutty"!)  I had no idea the quantity of chestnuts I'd get - I mean there were clearly tons of them on the tree.  Recently they've started falling, which is when they're ready to harvest.

When they fall, the yard looks like it's covered with sea urchins - and chestnuts.  Inside each VERY prickly hull, or burr, there are 2-3 chestnuts.  Usually the hulls open and the chestnuts fall into the grass.       Unfortunately, the nut wizard I own is the large size (made for apples and walnuts) and trying to pick up small chestnuts was damn near impossible.  It would take a lifetime to pick them up by hand.  Thankfully my neighbors (who are big nut people - in the Ohio Nut Association and all that!) came to the rescue after I'd gone in the house and ordered a small nut wizard online.  He happened to have a stockpile of nut wizards in his barn to sell to nut association folks.  He gave it to me for free!  Amazing!  So I was off to the races, picking up chestnuts.   Now here's how I built my empire - I put out one email at work letting everyone at the facility know that I had chestnuts if anyone was interested.  $1.50/lb.  So far I've sold out my entire harvest plus the next 20 pounds I get (oh yeah, there's more in the tree!) - I've weighed up and sold something like 92 pounds of chestnuts!  My fiance scoffed at first - thinking my chestnut business was a folly - now he's changed his tune!  The buyers are a combination of people who haven't had chestnuts since they were kids, and people who've never had them but want to give it a try.  And the Chinese.  I heard that some of my neighbors sell directly to Chinese restaurants.  I only knew of water chestnuts in Chinese food, but no, they love chestnuts.  One guy bought two pounds to try them (because he's picky about the quality) then said they were awesome and wanted 50 lbs!!  holy smokes!  That's where I oversold my current stock!  I weighed and bagged 40 pounds for him tonight and I told him I'd get the next 10 pounds to him probably within the week!  Then another Chinese co-worker ordered 10 pounds - so hers are next!  It's amazing!   I mean it's not going to pay the mortgage, but it sure is fun!  yes, I've roasted a few myself and I'll make sure to save some back for some dressing, but they're going like hotcakes!  My neighbor recently told us we should be asking $2/lb (he sells at a local farmer's market) so next year my hot commodity may be bring in even more!  


Eileen said...

How amazing!! Save a pound for me?

Catherine said...

You're a chestnut tycoon! Awesome!