The Shell Shock: Saving Oregon's Hazelnuts

As the hazelnut (also known as a filbert) has enjoyed a new prominence—nationally as a protein, fiber, iron, phosphorus, and vitamin E–rich addition to everything from salads to cereal, and regionally as a delicate, cholesterol-free condiment to encrust fresh trout, sprinkle over ice cream, or blend into rich tortes—the blight striking my family’s orchard has been wreaking havoc across the entire industry. For decades what little notice the media took of the growing disaster was mostly in the trade press and the occasional down-page story in the newspaper. Then early this year a slate of articles heralded a hero in the fight against the blight: Shawn Mehlenbacher, an Oregon State University researcher, and the new strain of tree he developed, dubbed Jefferson, after the US president. 

Read more in the Portland Monthly »