On Filbert Fridays, we celebrate Oregon’s state nut!
Did you know that Springfield produces a massive crop of hazelnuts, locally known as filberts? In fact, we’re home to the nation’s oldest operating commercial filbert farm, Dorris Ranch.
George Dorris established the 250-acre ranch with his wife Lulu in 1892. They tried planting several different crops before choosing to invest their space in filberts in 1903. Over the next 50 years, they planted 9,200 filbert trees that yielded more than 50 tons of nuts every year. Dorris Ranch has since provided starts for most of the filbert trees west of the Mississippi.
Today, Dorris Ranch is owned by Willamalane Park and Recreation District and is operated as a nonprofit organization. We maintain 80 acres of filbert trees which produce two picks of nuts every year. We completed our first pick of the year at the beginning of October and plan to collect our second pick toward the end of October.
At harvest time, nuts begin to fall from trees. We contract an orchardist to paddle all the nuts into long lines, scoop them up, place them in large boxes, and deliver them to a packer in Harrisburg. Then, the packer separates out the bad nuts and pays us for the good nuts that remain.
Over the course of the season, we harvest about $200,000-$300,000 worth of filberts. We pay the contractor about 60 percent. The rest goes to running programs at Dorris Ranch, plus maintenance and upkeep of the paths, roads and buildings.
You’re invited to wander our working orchard! Visit Dorris Ranch at 205 Dorris St. in Springfield.