Hazelnut producers want to expand
“The demand for hazelnuts is for double the amount we currently produce,” states the hazelnut producer, Fritz Stiegler, from Cadolzburg in Franken, Bavaria, Germany.
In the previous year the growers of the Frankish Association of Hazelnut Producers sold a little over 4 metric tons of hazelnut kernels to chocolate factories, bakeries and distilleries. Fritz Stiegler, the chairman of the association, stated at the beginning of the harvest, that he expects the same amounts this year.
The eight farmers in the association used to grow tobacco and started growing hazelnuts in 1996. Seven years later the first big harvest arrived. “In the beginning we were ridiculed for wanting to cultivate hazelnuts, which generally need a warm climate, in our region,” stated Stiegler. He now wants to expand his acreage to 10 hectares.
Last year, we sold out our hazelnuts around Christmas. “You could say that the hazelnuts reached the regional market.” The association hopes that other farmers will start to grow the nuts too.
Germany is one of the largest importers of hazelnuts, mainly from Turkey. “It is a pity that there are not more hazelnut farms in Germany, because there is a significant demand for homegrown hazelnuts,” emphasizes Stiegler.