2019 was an exciting year for the chestnut orchard. We planted 70 additional chestnut trees, bringing the total to 100 trees. It was very promising to see that some of the trees planted in the spring of 2018 grew six feet in one season! A handful of trees are already pushing eight feet in total height with only two seasons in the ground.
Chestnut trees produce edible nuts that can be eaten raw or dried to make flour, and a mature orchard can produce 4,000 pounds per acre. If successful, the trees we are planting now will feed generations of Islanders as the trees are known to live 300+ years. While Washington Island is at the northern edge at which chestnuts are typically grown, they have a good shot. Plus, they like the soil at Gathering Ground, so we will continue planting chestnuts in 2020.