by Eleanor Reagan

CAROLLTON, Ohio – ASFC hosted a hands-on field day this September to share our North Central Region SARE funded grant research to develop value-added products from Grade-B chestnuts, which are those nuts that are smaller than the large chestnuts preferred for roasting. Fellow farmers, producers, and community members toured the Route 9 Cooperative processing facility, observed machine demonstrations, and sampled a range of recipes containing chestnut flour, chestnut pieces and whole chestnuts.

“We talk to a lot of folks who just have never seen chestnuts before. They don’t know what they are. They don’t know how to eat them,” says Amy Miller of Route 9 Cooperative.

Athens bakers and chefs demonstrated the versatility of the nut by providing a sampling of products from a chestnut veggie focaccia by Village Bakery & Cafe to a spiced chestnut pound cake by Athens Bread Company, and even a chicken chestnut soup by the Athens Asian American Alliance.

Because Grade B chestnuts don’t immediately offer the same return as fresh chestnuts, we are looking at how they can generate more sales as an ingredient in recipes for home cooks, bakeries, and food manufacturers.. As we enter the second year of our grant, we’re continuing to develop best practices for processing and marketing this delicious and nutritious nut!