Tom & Lisa McKarn’s Farm, Clinton, MI 49236
We had a great time at the edge of the woods, next to the pond, under the pavilion and surrounded by walnut trees. The weather was perfect, right until the showers started after the meeting. Our hosts have a lovely property and are working to make it even nicer. The woods tour showed some mature trees of good variety. They are working with a forester to determine the best maintenance and harvest plans for the trees. There were also some beautiful mushrooms spotted on a tree and several varieties of small, wild fruits. The huge, newly dredged pond will be gorgeous once it is filled. A blue heron was already enjoying it. Tom took a moment to explain the interesting history of the farm, as they know it.
As is typical, the potluck was a wonderful variety of dishes. There were also freshly picked paw paws and persimmons.
The fundraiser auction included shagbark hickory nuts, a paw paw tree, a couple of interesting apple tree cultivars, homemade jelly including a wild grape one, some grafting tool pouches with tools, air pruning pots, an apple pie and more. The donations from the auction help offset other costs so that we can keep annual membership at the $8.00 bargain rate.
We were grateful to have several first timers attend and also grateful that several became new members.
There were also demonstrations of hazelnut husking and then we also tried the hazelnut husker on some of the fallen black walnuts; it worked great. The nuts were quickly stripped of their husk. They just needed a quick rinse and then to be bagged (mesh bags) for drying. The husker is actually a 5-gallon bucket thresher whose design can be found on YouTube.
The Frank Radosa Nut Cracker (sold at an MNFGA Meeting auction and then donated to MNFGA by Nash Nursery) was used to crack hazelnuts. It does them quickly and without fuss. The larger, cultivar nut shells and nut meats were then run through the air separator. The separator is a Real Seeds (UK company) open source design intended for small grains but finding use for nuts as well! We also demonstrated using the air separator for the husked hazelnuts (filberts, if you wish that name). It quickly separates the ground up husks from the whole hazelnuts. A young lad named Lucas particularly enjoyed demonstrating the air separator! Happy to see young, inquisitive people interested in things fruit and nut!
We are grateful to the McKarns for sharing their farm and hospitality with us!