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future fats

These are Kent cobnuts (Corylus maxima x coluna) and filberts (Corylus maxima). Given that I grew up on the Kent/Sussex borders, I always took them for granted and accepted the received wisdom that they should never be grown from seed as the resultant fruit, given the heterozygosity of the parent plant would be very hit and miss and unlikely to conform to the desirable qualities required of the named variety. Many years on, I came to question that notion and raised some  from seed which I planted in a test-plot in Cornwall. Seven years later, the trees have borne fruit for the first time and the results you see below. In my opinion the seed-grown offspring do not deviate significantly in fruit morphology or flavour from the grafted orchard stock borne fruit from the old platts, moreover, they have not, thus far shown any greater propensity to disease or lack of resistance to pests.

100g of nuts yields approximately 650 calories and the nuts can be pressed to yield oil. The production of oil/fat, important as a dietary componant, is incredibly land intensive when it is sourced from arable or livestock origin. It seems to me that this is good enough reason to increase the number of these trees as much as possible, using marginal land wherever available, thereby increasing future resilience against harder times to come. Presently these nuts are sourced largely from Turkey, but historically Kent had a thriving nut industry. It so happens that the turkish nut  is larger and more cheaply produced, but for how much longer. If the trees are planted extensively into pasture, they present the opportunity for a successful agroforestry operation. This year I have 100 whips to plant, with a further 500 planned for next year. These, as with the Helford Exapnsion Project, will be catalogued using the what3words app.

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