October 2019 Letter From COO Greg Thorsgard
I’ve been here six months now and boy, have I learned a lot about the hazelnut business!
Things are getting busier and we’re in the throes of harvest season. We are excited to see what the approximately 180 farms we service will produce with it being a “biennial year” and orchards providing less crop.
Although trees are recovering this year, we’ve had
perfect weather conditions for a strong hazelnut harvest. Our mild summer temperatures and occasional rains have been ideal for hazelnuts. Due to these growing conditions, harvest should be bringing in large nuts with kernels filling their shells. This is especially good news considering last year produced smaller kernels in the shell due to the “flat” summer.
Additionally, with the new plantings, this year is likely to be comparable to last year. In 2018, crop size was 50 to 51 million tons; this year it’s expected to be 49 tons, which is only a 4% difference and should only be a 15% decline in overall production.
So far, the products our HGO team has randomly inspected in the fields are completely full. And we’re prepared to receive these hazelnuts at our SQF Level 3, state-of-the-art processing plant.
We have new staffers from sales and marketing to operations and processing and they have integrated very well with the existing format here. They are great additions to the HGO team, and they are all excited to be working their first hazelnut harvest. Most of our new folks come from the agriculture industry, including fields like walnuts and almonds. They know what’s going on here. However, like me, hazelnuts are a nut we’re cracking for the first time.
Also, keep a look out for the new Oregon Orchard®
products – online, in Wilco stores, at our HGO
Marketplace, and in Albertsons stores!
To a robust crop!
Greg Thorsgard, COO