Since 2013, we’ve been importing what we believe are the best chestnut, and hazelnut trees, for Ontario. These are hardy trees (at least Zone 4) selected for blight resistance, early flowering, large nuts, high yields, and resilience against pests in no-spray situations. We also offer bulk Korean Nut Pines (for windbreaks and pine nuts), and Elderberries (for medicinal and culinary uses). 

Start thinking about your spring 2020 order!

We’ll have more bulk trees available in 2020. To learn more, sign up for updates below, and we’ll email you when we have firmed up availability.


We expect to have chestnuts, hazelnuts, elderberries available again in bundles of 25. 


We’ll have information on prices and availability by the end of 2019, orders will be due by mid-February 2020, and pick-up will be in in May or late April 2020. 

For those who have arrived here from the Ecological Farmers ad in summer 2019 – my apologies, that ad was the spring ad, and was accidentally run in the summer EFAO magazine as well. We have no further availability of bulk nut trees in 2019. 

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Why Chestnuts and Hazelnuts?

For farmers, chestnuts and hazelnuts can be an ecological approach to some premium crops.

For those with less land, chestnuts and hazelnuts can be a delightful supplement to their diet, or pocketbook. 

Did you know that chestnuts have a really similar nutritional profile to corn, and hazelnuts have a really similar nutritional profile to soybeans? Both can be adapted to mechanical harvest techniques, just like corn and beans, but you only have to plant them once. After they’re established, they just get more productive year after year for decades. When you combine techniques from forest gardening and permaculture (as described below), you can multiply your yields by adding berry crops, culinary and medicinal herbs, that grow alongside the nut trees as they establish. 


Hazelnuts are a growing crop in Ontario, with support from the Ontario Hazelnut Association, and Fererro, which has established a confectionary plant in Brantford, and are looking to buy Ontario hazelnuts. Beyond the larger-scale confectionary industry, hazelnuts have tremendous potential as a direct-marketed or specialty product, whether at a farm store or farmers market. As of March 2019, a bag of in-shell hazels is selling for $18 per kg. There are also loads of ideas for niche products, such as hazelnut tofu. Even if you sell all your hazelnuts for mixed nuts, the chances are high that nuts are always going to be a premium commodity over corn, beans, and wheat. 

The hybrid hazelnuts trees we import are from robust hardy stock that’s highly tolerant and resistant to Eastern Filbert Blight, and have been producing reliably in Zone 4 near Viola, Wisconsin for twelve years. They have been selected for youthful bearing, high yields, pest and disease resistance, and suitability for low-input and certified organic conditions. Why choose hybrid hazels over clonal varieties for some of your plantings? See more below.


Many people don’t realize we can grow chestnuts in Ontario. This is probably because of the Chestnut Blight that wiped out almost all the American Chestnuts several hundred years ago. Fortunately, there are some blight resistant, and potentially blight immune, chestnuts available for planting.

Most grocery store chestnuts are currently imported, but you canfind them sometimes at local farmer’s markets. It can be worth it to hand-pick them off the ground, but pull-behind nut sweepers are an easy option. Currently for sale for $18.50 for bagged un-shelled, like hazelnuts, these are a lucrative crop. Ideas for niche products include gluten-free flour, or pasta, and a whole range of traditional European confections. 

Our hybrid chestnuts also come from Zone 4, near Viola, Wisconsin. They include genetics from a variety of blight resistant or immune breeding programs. The breeding goals are high yields, large nuts, pest and disease resistance and suitability for low-input and certified organic conditions. Note that these nuts will not typically be as large as Chinese chestnuts, but Chinese Chestnuts are hardy in only limited parts of Ontario.

Unfortunately, we are sold out of Chestnuts for 2019.  We expect to have lots for sale in 2020. 

Nut Pines and Elderberries

We also import Korean Nut Pines and Elderberries. Nut pines, because they make such great windbreaks and are hard to find in bulk in Ontario, and elderberries because they are such a great crop for medicinal and culinary products, yet grow easily in swampy and wet areas, and are native species.  

Korean Nut Pine

Make your own pesto, and/or sell perhaps the most lucrative nut of them all. Currently going for $25 for 227 g (That’s around $100/kg), pine nuts make a terrific tree for windbreaks, since they get big and dense (really similar to White Pines), and yet also have a bonus luxury crop.  Down the road, someone is going to thank you for calming the winds on the fields/roads, plus, in this case, you might like to harvest the pine nuts. 

Pine nuts are another one of those premium crops that are super expensive at the store. Imagine bringing them to a local farmer’s market, or even getting some of yours for sale in a health food store. You could even save the work of harvesting the seeds to someone else – sell the cones as novelty bird feed at a farmers market or craft show. A nice little extra side-crop from space used for a windbreak. 


We’ve brought these in before – like all the stock we import, they are excellent quality, and already pretty well-established (a couple of feet tall with plentiful roots). Elderberries are made into medicinal syrups to combat winter colds, and also famously used in elderberry pie. The flowers are an awesome plant for herbal tea, and and even the stems, because they are hollow, can be made into little whistles or even spiles for maple sap collection.

One of the great things about them, is instead of worrying about drying up a persistent wet spot, you can just plant these in it. They’ll produce a crop which you might have to wade in to collect, but since they are native species, you can even plant them responsibly in naturalized areas. If you don’t care to harvest them, or like to share, like us, you can leave some or most of the berries for the birds and other animals, which love them.

What Makes These Trees Different?

We import our trees from Forest Agriculture Nursery, run by Mark Shepard, located near Viola, Wisconsin (Zone 4). When first getting into nut trees about ten years ago, and researching about where to source chestnut and hazelnut trees, we learned of Mark Shepard’s book Restoration Agriculture. In that book, he puts forward a vision of transitioning our current farming system, which relies on annual crops, toward perennial crops. The basic idea is to keep farmers making money while making choices that are good for the planet.  Mark has been selecting breeding stock of hazelnuts and chestnuts for two decades, and was selling nut trees grown from seed of these proven producers. We started jumping through the hoops to import these trees into Ontario, partially selfishly, so we can plant them, and partially because we want to share the opportunity with you, to buy some for your home or farm. 

The trees are from seeds on Mark’s home farm, and fields run in collaboration with university research programs. They are grown out at professional nurseries, and come to you bare-root with really well developed roots, and typically 1′-2′ of stem and branches, sometimes more.  

We are the exclusive Ontario importer of these distinct hardy trees

What makes his breeding program unique? 

Solid Genetics

Over twenty years ago, Mark Shepard started with all the most blight resistant chestnut and hazelnut varieties he could get his hands on from a number of university breeding programs that had been specializing in breeding blight resistant chestnuts and hazelnuts. Both trees are primarily wind-pollinated, so he let his trees all mix their pollen. The next generation was ruthlessly selected for youthful bearing, nut size, high yield, and low/no input. The direct parents of the seeds the trees we sell have been producing reliable, high quality crops on Mark's Zone 4 farms since 2007, despite extremes of temperature (-45C - +44C), flood, and drought.

Bulk Pricing

Someone recently suggested we increase our prices, based on what they are seeing at other commercial nurseries. We might have to eventually, but for now, we're keeping them as low as possible, because we want to see more people taking the plunge and planting these. Full details on prices is below, but our prices are very competitive. Especially with deep discounts starting at 500 trees and 1000 trees.

Hybrids, Not Clones

Planting clones that fulfill the requirements of a single customer like Ferrero makes sense, but the genetic diversity of hybrids brings some really big advantages to the table as well.

  • Pest Resistance
    A larger gene pool means more possibilities for defence against a pest we don't know about yet. If you think this isn't serious, have a look at the Cavendish variety in the banana industry.
  • Hybrid Vigour
    The parents and grandparents of these seedlings have a variety of origins, from European and Asian species, to native North American species. When species hybridize, they tend to produce more robust and vigorous plants.
  • Winning the Lottery
    When you plant out a 1000 hybrid trees, you are essentially becoming a plant breeder yourself. Yeah, you could end up with a couple of duds that actually do get the blight, or don't produce large nuts, but you also have great chances of growing the next great clonal variety, that is blight immune and produces high yields of large nuts. Actually, the odds are way better than the lottery!

About the Breeder

Mark Shepard is the CEO of Forest Agriculture Enterprises LLC, founder of Restoration Agriculture Development LLC and award-winning author of the book, Restoration Agriculture: Real-World Permaculture for Farmers. Mark has also been a farmer member of the Organic Valley cooperative, the worlds largest Organic Farmer’s marketing co-op, since 1995. He is most widely known as the founder of New Forest Farm, the 106-acre perennial agricultural savanna considered by many to be one of the most ambitious sustainable agriculture projects in the United States.

New Forest Farm is a planned conversion of a typical row-crops grain farm into a commercial-scale, perennial agricultural ecosystem using oak savanna, successional brushland and eastern woodlands as the ecological models. Trees, shrubs, vines, canes, perennial plants and fungi are planted in association with one another to produce food (for humans and animals), fuel, medicines, and beauty. Hazelnuts, chestnuts, walnuts and various fruits are the primary woody crops. The farm is entirely solar and wind powered and farm equipment is capable of being powered with locally produced biofuels.

Trained in both mechanical engineering and ecology, Mark has developed and patented equipment and processes for the cultivation, harvesting and processing of forest derived agricultural products for human foods and bio fuels production.

Mark was certified as a Permaculture designer in 1993 and received his Diploma of Permaculture design from Bill Mollison, the founder of the international Permaculture movement. He teaches agroforestry and Permaculture worldwide. 

Two Kinds of Hybrid Hazelnuts

We import two different types of hybrid hazelnuts. Here’s some information directly from Mark Shepard to help you decide which one is for you. The short version is that the Controlled-Cross Hazelnuts are likely to be better producers, but that planting one Selected for every Controlled-Cross is good for pollination. Controlled-Cross cost slightly more, and we currently import more of them. 

Selected Hybrid Hazelnuts

"The parents of our strain of hazelnuts come from the breeding programs of Jack Gellatley in Alberta, George Slate & others from Geneva, New York, Cecil Ferris of Michigan, Badgersett Research of Minnesota, Carl Weschke, the University of Wisconsin, and New Forest Farms all in Wisconsin. Wild American Hazelnut selections from high altitude Colorado, Iowa, Minnesota,Michigan, New York State and Maine have also found their way into our breeding program. Our breeding goals include: youthful bearing, high yields, pest & disease resistance, suitability for low-input and certified organic conditions.

All seed is open pollinated and all genetics are public domain with the intention for them to remain that way. Seed is selected from the top producing plants and only the best are allowed to shed pollen in our pollen-controlled breeding plots. Inferior plants are ruthlessly eliminated from the breeding site using a heavy duty flail chopper.

Since every Selected Seedling Hazelnut plant is genetically unique from every other one, they readily cross pollinate with one another. Plant Selected Seedlings with Controlled Cross Seedlings or Commercial Cultivars to ensure adequate pollination.

Nut clusters in their fringed husks (involucre) are very ornamental. Autumn colors can be anything from yellow to red, orange and even pink!

Hazelnuts are the nutritional equivalent of a soybean with 3 times the oil by kernel weight."

Controlled-Cross Selected Hybrid Hazelnuts

"Since the 1990’s, Forest Agriculture Enterprises LLC in collaboration with the University of MN St Paul, the Universities of WI Steven’s Point & Madison, an UW Extension, has been pioneering vegetative propagation of specific cultivars of hybrid hazelnut. Although early efforts proved to not be economically viable at the time for producing clonal cultivars for farmers, they were successful enough to establish isolated breeding nurseries for the production of controlled cross seedlings. In the earliest variety trials, seedlings from one parent proved to not produce at a young enough age. Seedlings from the second parent plant began to bear within two years. The initial nursery was slowly expanded for several years until it reached its current size. Seven other controlled cross nurseries have been established in several different states.

Seedlings from the first controlled cross were put into variety trials beginning in 2012 and were released publicly for the first time in 2017!

80% of the Controlled cross seedlings have flowered within the first year from planting and they have born crops more consistently across the population than selected seedlings. They exist in areas of heavy Eastern Filbert Blight presence and show no signs of susceptibility. Since these plants have only been out in the landscape for 6 years, their long-term average per-plant yields are not yet known. Most notable for the controlled cross seedlings is that they have demonstrated a dramatically shortened and consistent harvest window which is extremely important, especially for mechanical harvest. Harvest begins in Mid-August in southwestern Wisconsin.

UW Extension, U IL Champaign and the Savanna Institute are all involved with data collection on the first out plantings of this material.

We recommend planting at least 1 Selected Seedling Hybrid Hazelnuts per 5 Controlled Cross Selected Seedlings in order to ensure adequate pollination."

Forest gardening

It’s the name of our nursery, and in case you don’t know what we mean, we better tell you! 

Forest Gardening is an approach to gardening and farming that comes out of permaculture. Forest Gardening focuses on polycultures, instead of monocultures, and therefore looks at multiple yields from the same acreage using ideas observed in natural ecosystems. Mark Shepard calls his approach restoration agriculture, and it’s highly adapted to farming on larger acreages. Shantree and Rob prefer the term forest gardening, mostly because we are both gardeners who love forests! 

Permaculture started in Australia in the 1970s, initially as a way to design agricultural systems based on ecological principles, and has since become an international movement to design for all human needs using techniques that are not just sustainable, but regenerative – that is, they make the planet better, instead of depleting it. 

There are lots of books on forest gardening and permaculture, as well as courses, camps, and workshops. Shantree’s other business, The Living Centre, offers training and mentorships in permaculture and forest gardening, and Rob’s other business, Willow Creek Farm, has Permaculture Family Camp, which lets family come out and learn about permaculture, modern homesteading, holistic parenting, all while also camping on a farm with their family. 


When purchased in bundles of 25, the price per tree is listed below. 

NOTE – Prices subject to change for spring 2020.

$ 0
Korean Nut Pine
$ 0
$ 0
Selected Hybrid Hazelnut
$ 0
Controlled-Cross Selected Hybrid Hazelnut
$ 0
Hybrid Chestnut
Sold out for 2019

Buy More and Save

Thinking of ordering more than 500?

We give a discount of 50 cents per tree when you buy at between 500 and 975 trees.

If you buy over 1000 trees, we’ll give you a full dollar off per tree.

That’s a great deal.

$ 0
How much you save when you buy 500-975 trees
(20-39 bundles).
Enter coupon code: 500 at checkout
$ 0
How much you save when you buy 1000 trees
(40 bundles) or more
Enter coupon code: 1000 at checkout

Fine print: We can’t include nut pines in this sale, because they are already such a good deal. The actual savings are 4.2% off and 8.4% off your totals, which works out to just a bit more savings for you.    

Payment and Pick-up

Orders are done online through PayPal secure checkout, and are picked up at near London, Ontario in late April or early May.  As we get closer to the date, we’re in touch with you by email to let you know when the trees arrive, and have been inspected by CFIA, and are ready for pick-up. 

With orders over 500, we will consider alternate pick-up options. Be in touch by email or phone to find out more.

If you are not comfortable paying online through PayPal, and we can consider other options.

Email: readrobread@gmail.com

Phone: 519-762-3398  (Ask for Rob.)

Limited Quantities, Order Now

Our supplier is running out of trees every year. We’ve been selling out too.

They are super popular across North America, and we’re the exclusive importer into Ontario.

If you want to add some to your planting this spring, please get your order in soon.

Selected Hybrid Hazelnut


Controlled-Cross Selected Hybrid Hazelnut

Hybrid Chestnut – Sorry – sold out for 2019. We expect to have them in 2020. 

Korean Nut Pine