Janine and Roger Southby had been looking for a business for several years before they happened upon what has now become Hazelnut Estate. They were looking for a business they could grow but were mindful that they both had full time jobs. Fortunately neither of them are afraid of hard work, or burning the candle at both ends, so they took the plunge.
They have 5.8 hectares in hazelnuts, primarily whiteheart variety. The trees are 19 years old and in full production. The learning curve was, and still is, extremely steep as neither had any sort of background in horticulture. However they have sought advice and are working their way through pruning of shelter belts and the trees themselves. They have looked at the health of the soil and are currently investigating ways to feed the trees in a sustainable and cost effective way. They don’t want to be using any herbicides or pesticides.
Once the nuts fall and are collected they come into the large, very well set up shed to be sorted, sized, cracked and eventually roasted for sale. While Janine and Roger have lots of plans to expand their product line, currently they do a hazelnut flour and whole, roasted nuts. A chocolate, hazelnut spread is currently under development.
Most hazelnuts you buy in New Zealand are imported and invariably stale or rancid. Janine and Rodgers’ nuts are a far superior product full with nutritional value.
Their stall is well laid out with a hazelnut inspired yummy treat on offer to entice customers and to demonstrate the versatility of the humble hazelnut.