A New Crop for the Upper Midwest
Hazelnut is a multi-use crop and the kernels, oils, and meal can be used in a broad range of food products like edible oils, spreadable nut butters, nut flours, and confections. Early-adopter growers will likely process nuts into raw ingredients for sale to existing value-added processors or develop their own products. The smaller kernels of American hazelnut and hybrids with European hazelnut may be preferred for use in trail mixes, nut clusters, and other products. The genetic diversity within populations of American hazelnut, in particular, will provide a wide pallet of flavors and kernel characteristics enabling product differentiation and place-based marketing. Beside food uses, the oil, shells, husks, and wood may have use as feedstock in bioenergy applications. With so many uses and so many markets, hazelnuts will provide many economic opportunities for growers and processors.