Hazelnut Harvest

We’ve always liked growing our own food and have four very productive raised beds in the backyard garden. These have been a great source of fresh produce throughout the summer and the kids love to help with the harvesting. The gardens are also a bit of a biodiversity oasis in our little patch of suburbia and we get all sorts of insects, birds and much more dropping in from time to time.

A couple of years ago we inherited a small hazelnut tree from a friend who was having no luck with it in her rural property. The deer proved too much and constant browsing kept it from growing very well. We planted it in our front yard and over the last three years it’s gone from about thigh height to well over my head. It hadn’t produced any hazelnuts until this fall, but the wait has been well worth it!

A single hazelnut on our small tree in our suburban front yard.
Picked from the tree, hazelnuts have a fibrous husk around the inner nut. These were often in pairs or threes.
With the outer husk removed, the hazelnuts are ready for shelling. We got a decent sized bowl of nuts from our tree.
Raw Hazelnuts
The second last stage in processing – the outer shells are cracked and the raw hazelnuts are ready for roasting.
Roasted Hazelnuts
The final product – hazelnuts roasted two hours at 275 degrees F. Tasty!

Ideally, you’d have two different hazelnuts in your yard so that cross-pollination can occur. We’re not sure where the closest tree to ours is, but thankfully it was close enough!


  1. Nicely done! I love it when things I didn’t really plan on turn out to be very productive in my garden – like the things that sprout from my compost heap. Way to go.

  2. I live in Nanaimo and I want to buy some hazelnuts, my search led me to you. I cannot find them in the stores so far. I am wondering if you know where I can buy some?

  3. Hello Norma – we’ve got friends on Denman Island who have a hazelnut farm – I’ll ask them if they know of someone selling hazelnuts closer to Nanaimo. Thanks for stopping in!

  4. My husband and I own a hazelnut farm behind Nanaimo airport if any one is interested in purchasing any they will be ready to sell end of October.

  5. Awesome – thanks for commenting Kathy. I hope that Norma will get in touch with you!

  6. Larry – a previous commenter asked where to get hazelnuts and a farmer (Kathy) replied that she owned a farm near the Nanaimo airport and were selling hazelnuts in October.

  7. I also would like to find out where the hazelnut farm near Nanaimo airport is. Please contact me, I would love some Island grown nuts.

  8. Thank you Dave for your info and pictures.
    I would like to know where I can buy a Walnut or a place where I can go and pick them up.

  9. Hi Claire,

    There are lots of walnut trees in most urban areas on Vancouver Island and plenty of walnuts on the ground. I’ve never grown one from seed but it might be fun.

    For hazelnuts, probably best to go with a nursery or a farm. The corkscrew hazelnut is pretty cool looking but not sure on the quality of the nuts. Strangely enough, this year we didn’t get any nuts on the tree. Maybe it’s every second year.

    Good luck!

  10. We moved into our new house three weeks ago and found out we were the new owners of two hazelnut trees! (yay!) When I was in the backyard today I found a bunch of green little hazelnuts had begun to fall. Is this too early to begin harvesting? When is the typical harvest on the island? Could this streak of hot weather mean things are ready sooner than normal?

  11. Hi Leah,
    I’m not sure on the harvesting time for hazelnuts, but things are definitely out of whack with the weather (was talking with someone today who is already harvesting chanterelles). August/September is more typical for hazelnuts, usually after they fall.


  12. Hi Corine,
    I’d check a local hazelnut farm and see what they do with the shells. Thanks for stopping in!


  13. We have 2 well established hazelnut trees and the squirrels plant them for us and we have many baby trees started so this year I planted many and most are about a foot tall and looking very healthy , but now what ? I have no idea how to keep them this way as I think if planted right now the deer will kill them so how do I keep them over the winter to plant next year ?
    I’m in Comox

  14. Hi Val – I think that your best bet is to check with a local nursery for suggestions on deer and browsing. I believe that there is a hazelnut nursery at the top of Mission Hill but you could also check in at Art Knapp. Good luck!

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