As we approach harvest, hazelnut growers are busy cleaning up their orchard floors to achieve a smooth surface prior to nut fall. Flail mowing or scraping helps to reduce leaves, sticks and other detritus that makes up the majority of the cleaning fees at the wash station. Growers in rocky areas can either use specialized rock picking equipment or use on-farm rock sorters prior to wash plant delivery.
Here at HGO, we would ask that you pay special attention to several types of foreign material that can be particularly harmful to our machines or that has a higher chance of getting through our sorting equipment.
Glass: Because of the lower density compared to rock, glass can get through rock sorters and make its way into the plant. It is very harmful to equipment and can create a safety hazard to employees who are handling the nuts. Pay attention to field margins along roadways and remove bottles and other glass by hand prior to field prep.
Acorns: Many of our orchards have oaks on the border and the acorns produced by oaks are similar enough to hazelnuts that it fools sorting equipment. Make sure to flail along borders with oak trees and remove oaks in the orchards where possible. Other nuts like walnuts pose similar problems and are allergens that we need to keep out of our products.
Paintballs: We have seen an increase in paintballs making their way through the machinery due to their density and similar size to nuts. Please try to keep paintballs out of the orchard as they are a serious food safety hazard.