Fall 2008 Chestnut Harvest
September 22, 2008
On the first day of fall 2008, Carolinas Chapter members collected chestnut burrs from open pollinated American chestnut trees at three overlooks on the Blue Ridge Parkway south of Asheville, NC.
Chapter members Don Surrette, Jon Taylor, Steve Barilovits, and Doug Gillis gather mid morning on September 22nd at Don’s home in Pisgah Forest, NC. With the morning sun directly over the celestial equator, and with summer passing into autumn, the group headed towards its mission–collecting American chestnuts still in their burrs before being expelled and spread on the ground where squirrels, deer, turkey and other wildlife would find and devour them. The weather cooperated–providing cool temperatures, clear skies, and wonderful views along the Blue Ridge Parkway–making the day’s work of gathering chestnuts delightful.
The last of the three spots visited by the harvesters was the Pounding Mill Overlook–a prophetic place to collect the last burrs as daylight faded. The contents of the bags will be milled by pounding, pulling and tearing away at the burrs to free the trove of American chestnuts within. The collected nuts will be dried, put in cold storage to simulate winter conditions, and distributed next spring to growers who will propagate them to further efforts to return the American chestnut to the eastern forests.