NNGA's 113th Annual Meeting

July 21-24, 2024
State University of New York (SUNY)
College of Environmental Science and Forestry
Syracuse, NY

Northern Nut Growers Association / Chestnut Growers of America
Meeting Highlights

Mark your calendars for the 2024 NNGA annual meeting to be held jointly with the Chestnut Growers of America in Syracuse NY, from July 21st-24th. The planning committee assisted by Andy Newhouse (aenewhou@esf.edu) of SUNYESF is busy exploring on campus and local opportunities for the conference. A late spring issue of The Nutshell will include details about events, list of presenters, lodging, and registration. We plan to offer an early bird discount if you register before June 15. Watch your email or check the NNGA website (nutgrowing.org) to see periodic updates as the planning committee firms up the program.
The conference will begin with registration on Sunday afternoon, July 21, followed by a welcome reception that evening. Both NNGA and CGA will hold board meetings on Sunday and business meetings later in the week. Anticipate the traditional Sunday evening Show & Tell, Monday evening auction, and Tuesday evening banquet.

We are planning for all-day technical sessions on Monday and Tuesday, opening with keynote presentations by Andy Newhouse (ESF) or Hill Craddock (University of Tennessee). Expect to hear multiple presentations from members of ESF’s American Chestnut Research and Restoration Project (www.esf.edu/chestnut) and other local experts.
The planning committee will be balancing session topics to include other nut species besides chestnut. This year we are planning for 10-minute lightning talks and 30-minute technical presentations.

Anticipate there will be a CAPS program featuring local attractions in Syracuse and nearby.
On Wednesday, July 24, we are planning an all-day field tour. As is tradition with the Chestnut Growers of America, we will carpool or drive our own vehicles to the field tour sites. In the morning Andy Newhouse and staff will provide a short campus laboratory tour at ESF followed by a field tour at the ESF’s chestnut field research site.

After lunch at the research site, we can choose whether to check out the hazel/chestnut orchard and seedlings at Z's Nutty Ridge, dig into the operational details of a producing orchard of cold hardy Chinese/Chinese hybrid chestnuts for zone 5b at Finger Lakes Nut Farm, or participate in a tree to table black walnut experience at Black Squirrel Farms in Penn Yan 70 miles SW of Syracuse. The other sites are 30 to 40 miles south of Syracuse.

We are also looking into local options for post-conference stops as you head home on Thursday.

On-campus residential housing is not available. The conference headquarters will be the Collegian Hotel, which is less than a mile from ESF. Group rates (single or double occupancy) will likely be $115 plus 15% taxes per night. We expect to book a block of rooms for Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday night and a small block of rooms for Saturday and Wednesday night. If flying, plan to fly into the Syracuse Hancock International Airport (8 miles from the hotel) and take the shuttle to the Collegian Hotel.

Finally, please share this information with non-member friends and colleagues. Conference information is openly posted at nutgrowing.org.

Call for Presentations
The planning committee is looking for a few more folks, especially growers, willing to do a poster, lightning talk (5 min presentation plus 5 min Q&A) or a technical presentation (25 min PowerPoint plus 5 min Q&A). If you have an idea for a presentation, contact Jerry Henkin (sproutnut@aol.com) before January 15. Expect to submit a short abstract and bio for the program and a supporting article for The Nutshell.

Support the Auction
Now is the time to be thinking about possible items you could offer for the Monday night auction. Proceeds from the auction support the research grants program. Items in the past have included gift certificates, seedlings and grafts, shelled and in-shell nuts, historical documents, artworks, tools, candy, baked goods, and fermented beverages. In 2023, we had 32 items from 13 donors that generated more than $2,590 for the research fund. Let’s see if we cannot improve on these numbers.

Exhibitors Wanted
Do you provide a product or service useful to nut tree growers, processors, or enthusiasts? Consider doing a staffed exhibit (includes full registration) or stand-alone display (small fee for table). Contact Carl Albers at 607 -346-5226 or cwalbers@yahoo.com for more information and to be added to the list.



Sunday, July 21, 2024

Conference attendees can pick up their registration packets after 3:30 pm in the lobby of the Collegian Hotel and Suites outside the Genesee Ballroom. Easels will be available to set up posters and skirted tables for exhibits in the hall outside the ballroom.   Auction items should be set on the skirted tables in Genesee Ballroom A.  During the day, the NNGA will hold their annual Board of Director’s meetings from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm in the Capital Club.   The Chestnut Growers of America will hold their Board of Director’s meeting in the Capital Club from 4:00 to 5:00 pm.

A welcome dinner with cash bar is planned Sunday evening in the Genesee Ballroom from 5:30 to 7:00 pm. The cost of the welcome dinner is included in the full, companion, and student registration.  Following the dinner, we will have our first poster session from 6:00 to 7:00 pm.  We are asking exhibitors and poster presenters to be available to answer questions during this session. The member-sharing Show and Tell session will start around 7:00 pm in Genesee Ballroom with a welcome followed by a series of short or lightning talks. This ever-popular event will include presentations from individuals who want to introduce themselves, who have built or tried new equipment, new techniques, promising selections or cultivars, had some recent successes or failures.  If you’re interested in doing a ‘lightning’ talk and have not already contacted Jerry Henkin (sproutnut@aol.com), please do so ASAP so that you are added to the list and your title, abstract, bio, and contact information are included in the conference program booklet.

Monday, July 22, 2024

The NNGA will have their annual business meeting from 8:00 to 9:00 am in Genesee Ballroom.  The CGA will have their annual business meeting at the same time in Genesee Ballroom A and B.

After the NNGA business meeting, we will begin the first day of presentations with a keynote presentation by Andy Newhouse, ESF Director, American Chestnut Research & Restoration Project, on using biotechnology to restore threatened trees.  After the morning refreshment break, will are planning a series of 30-minute presentations before lunch.  After lunch, we have scheduled another series of 30-minute presentations from 1:00 to 4:30 pm.

Coffee, tea, and ice water will be available all day starting at 7:30 am till around 9:00 pm.  A buffet lunch from 12:00 to 1:00 pm is included in a full and student registration.  The buffet lunch will be served in Genesee A and B and we will eat in the Genesee Ballroom.  Dinner will be on our own Monday evening.

A companion (CAPS) program is being planned from mid-morning to mid-afternoon.  Syracuse has multiple tourist attractions to choose from.  After The Nutshell is published, check the NNGA website as to what is included and where the group will go for lunch.

Plan to return early from dinner to participate in the second poster and exhibitor session and viewing of the auction items from 6:00 to 7:00 pm. The auction should start around 7:00 pm.  All are welcome to attend – bring your checkbook, cash or credit card!   Proceeds go to support the NNGA and CGA research grants programs.

Tuesday, July 25, 2024

Tuesday session will open at 8:00 am with a keynote presentation by J. Hill Craddock, Davenport Professor of Biology - University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, on conservation of Castanea genetic resources.  The rest of the morning will be 30-minute presentations covering various aspects of all the temperate nut growing trees and general interest topics (see page 12 for the current list of confirmed presentations). In the afternoon, we will have a mix of technical presentation and either a panel discussion or informal sharing of information with experts in small groups.

Again, coffee, tea, and ice water will be available all day from 7:30 am till the end of banquet and a buffet lunch is included in each full and student registration.   A second companion (CAPS) program is being planned for mid-morning to mid-afternoon.  Again, check the NNGA website after The Nutshell is printed for details as to which attractions and lunch place.

On Tuesday evening, we will have the traditional social and banquet followed by a program with announcements, elections, sponsor recognition, and awards.  The social and banquet are included in the full, companion, and student registration, but not the Tuesday one-day registration.  Tickets can be purchased for the banquet only if you want to bring a guest.  The social with cash bar is scheduled from a little after 6:00 to 7:00 pm.  Anticipate being call together for the annual group photo around 6:00 pm – the cash bar does not open until the group photo has been taken. The buffet style banquet will be served in Genesee Ballroom A and B with seating in Genesee Ballroom C. The banquet should start around 7:00 pm with the evening’s program to begin around 8:00 pm. Some highlights of the program include selection of a new Big Nut, election of NNGA Officers and Board members, recognition of our sponsors, presentation of a few awards, and ending with the roll call of states.

Wednesday, July 24, 2024

Wednesday has been set aside for laboratory and field tours. We anticipate maintaining an information desk in the lobby of the Collegian Hotel from 7:00 to 9:00 am to provide maps and assistance in removal of posters and exhibits if not already done.  The morning tours are included in the full, companion, and student registration. The optional off-site afternoon tours require an additional registration.  Attendees will be asked to drive their own vehicles to these sites or help arrange carpooling once we are on-site.  Those on the companion tours may want to sit and socialize under the shade of a chestnut or walnut tree, but you may need to bring your own lawn chair.  We are asking those who drive to the conference, to stash a few lawn chairs in their trunk before leaving for the conference.

The ESF research laboratories are less than a 10-minute drive from the Collegian Hotel.  Try to carpool as parking space is limited and we have been issued only 50 campus parking passes.  Plan to pick up a pass at the information desk on Wednesday morning.  Graduate students and faculty should be present from 8:15 to 9:30 am to show us around.

Following the laboratory tours, we will take a short drive to the ESF’s Research Station (452 Lafayette Road, Syracuse, NY 13205) less than a 15-minute drive away from the laboratories.  Expect a short welcome around 10:00 am and to break up into small groups for a half mile long walking tour through the farm.  We have been asked to bring our own water bottles; however, bottled water will be available. Those registered for the afternoon off-site tours should refill their water bottles and pick up a lunch before departing for the off-site field tours.

If you plan to participate in the off-site field tours, you will need to add a field tour registration to your full or companion registration.  When registering, choose one of the following three off-site field tours.

Z’s Nutty Ridge Orchards and Nursery, 5296 Town Line Road, McGraw, NY 13101 to see Jeff and Dawn Zarnowski’s hazel/chestnut orchards and nut tree seedling nursery.  The farm is on a hillside that overlooks a beautiful valley with a view that is worth the visit alone. The farm started out with thousands of hazelnut seedlings 30 years ago, then a program of hazelnut cross breeding, and now has hazelnut cultivar offerings from these crosses.  Expect program to begin around 1:30 pm.

In anticipation of the tour, explore Jeff and Dawn Zarnowski’s website at https://znutty.com.  Plan to take a 41-minute, 37-mile drive from the Lafayette Experimental Station south on Lafayette Road until the road ends at Route 20.  Turn right, go straight through the traffic light and then take I-81f south for 20.7 miles to exit 11.  Turn left and go north on Route 13 about 8 miles and turn right onto Youngs Crossing.  Continue straight onto Town Line Road about 1 mile and take the first driveway on the left.  This is the easy route!

Finger Lakes Nut Farm is located at 5287 Booth Hill Road, Locke, NY 13092.  Located in Owasca Valley, there are 1200+ Chinese and Chinese hybrid trees from fourteen mother trees.  Of the trees, 1000 trees were planted in 2017 and are situated on 13 acres with a deer fence and are fully irrigated.  There is a small-scale processing facility that includes a dip tank, sorter, walk-in coolers and a Hasastan vacuum harvester located in the barn.  Expect the program to begin around 1:30 pm.

Explore their website at www.fingerlakesnutfarm.com/.  The farm is approximately 50 minutes away from the conference center, first taking I-81 south to the Homer exit and then west on route 90 for 15 minutes. Parking is at the top of the driveway beside the garage and along the deer fence up the driveway.

Black Squirrel Farms, 590 State Route 14, Penn Yan, NY 14527. Participate in a tree to table black walnut experience. Black Squirrel Farms grows and processes black walnuts, sells black walnut products, and manages a regional black walnut collection which serves over 150 individual tree owners.  Expect program to begin around 2:00 pm.  Before the event, explore their website at https://www.blacksquirrelfarms.net/.  Plan to take a 70-minute, 65-mile drive from the conference center taking I-690 to I-90 west to NY State Route 14.  Then 15.5 miles south on NY 14 through Geneva to the farm.


            Posters and exhibits will be set up in the lobby of the Collegian Hotel outside Genesee Ballroom B.  Plan to mount your poster on your own board and bring it to the conference.  The hotel has ten easels but no poster boards.  Poster presenters are expected to register for the conference and be present by their posters during the two scheduled poster sessions on Sunday and Monday from 6:00 to 7:00 pm each evening.  Exhibitors should plan to staff their exhibits during these times as well. If you need to ship materials for displays or exhibits before the conference, please contact Lauren Cali (315-476-4212) or Carl Albert (cwalbers@yahoo.com; 607-346-5226) to make arrangement to receive and store your materials for the conference.

Registration packets will be assembled on Sunday between the Board meetings.  If you have fliers or other items you would like included in the registration packet, arrange to have them in Genesee Ballroom A and B before 2:00 pm on Sunday.  If you need to ship your fliers and other materials, please contact Lauren Cali (315-476-4212) to arrange to receive and store them.


The traditional NNGA auction is scheduled on Monday evening.  Please consider donating items to the auction regardless of which organization you belong too.  You can specify on the donation sheet which organization should receive the proceeds.  Both the NNGA and CGA use the proceeds to support their research grants program for tree-related research. In the past, auction items have included artwork, handmade donations, plant material, nut products, baked goods, and/or gift certificates.  If you donate baked goods, please label your treats as to whether they are nut, dairy, or gluten-free.  If you are an exhibitor, consider adding items, especially the items you have for sale, to the auction to increase your exposure at the conference.

Companion or CAPS Program

We anticipate half day Companion (CAPS) program on Monday and Tuesday from mid-morning to mid-afternoon planned in conjunction with the Syracuse visitors center.  Details as to where the group will go and have lunch will be included on the NNGA website when available and in the summer 2024 The Nutshell.  The companion registration covers the welcome dinner, social and banquet, ESF tour, and normal conference fixed expenses, but does not include entrance fees and lunch for either day.



We will be on our own for breakfast each morning and dinner on Monday night.  The Salt Restaurant and Bar in the Collegian Hotel is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner from 7:00 am to 9:00 pm. You can find their menus at www.scholarhotels.com/scholar-hotel-syracuse.  Room Service is available from 11 am to 9 pm.  The Starbuck’ café in the lobby has beverages only and open from 7 am till 11 am.  A variety of beverages and snacks are available in the Collegian Marketplace directly behind Starbucks.  Only the suites have kitchenettes in the Collegian Hotel.

There are multiple locally-owned restaurants within a half mile walking distance that include vegan, Mexican, Asian, and American cuisine.  We plan to compile a list of local options to be distributed at the conference.  Although it is safe to walk alone in downtown Syracuse, it would be best if we walked as small groups to these restaurants.


The Collegian Hotel and Suites (1600 E. Genesee Road, Syracuse, NY 13210) is a smoke-free double tower hotel in downtown Syracuse. We have booked a block of rooms with a discounted rate of $115 plus 15% tax (single or double) through July 5, 2024.  Choose from a room with two queen-sized beds and no refrigerator, with a king-sized bed and mini-refrigerator, or studio with king-sized bed and kitchenette.

To book a room, call the Collegian Hotel (315-476-4212) and ask to speak to Lauren Cali or reserve on line at https://bit.ly/grouprate2024.  Book as early as possible, the block of reserved rooms expires on July 5th.    We have guaranteed the Collegian Hotel more than 60 sleep nights from Sunday through Wednesday.  Reservations made through the front desk and online booking groups will not count toward the sleep nights. Check in is at 3:00 pm and check-out is at noon.

Parking is self-parking and free at the Collegian Hotel if registered for the conference; otherwise, it is $10 per night.  There is no valet parking.

The Collegian Hotel & Suites Syracuse is pet friendly.  They accept up to two pets each less than 30 pounds and $50 for the first pet and $25 for the second pet per stay.  Guests will be required to sign their Guest Pet Agreement at check-in. These fees do not apply to service animals.


Other hotels within a mile of the conference site include the Hotel Skyler (0.2 miles), Crown Plaza (0.3), Parkview Hotel (0.3), Sheraton (0.4), Clarion Point (0.7), Marriott (0.8), and Best Western (0.9).

The nearest RV/camp ground is in Green Lakes State Park (7900 Green Lake Road, Fayetteville, NY 13066) about 9 miles (24 minutes) from the Collegian Hotel.  Sites start at $18. Call 315-637-6111 for availability and pricing.


The Collegian Hotel and Suites is conveniently located off I-81 taking the Genesee (Hwy 5) exit east.

Hancock International Airport, located 8 miles north of the Collegian Hotel is served by nine airlines and six car rental agencies.  The Collegian Hotel offers a free shuttle between the airport and hotel.  Call the front desk to arrange for pickup or drop off.

Syracuse is also served by AMTRAK on the Empire Service with multiple departures daily between New York City and Niagara Falls. Trains operate out of the William F. Walsh Transportation Center located 3 miles north of the Collegian Hotel.  Free shuttle service is available if arranged through the Collegian Hotel’s front desk.


Registration is now open. Online registration with credit card will be available through the NNGA and CGA websites (nutgrowing.org; chestnutgrowers.org) or at https://bit.ly/nngacga2024.  Alternatively, complete the registration form on pages 13-14 in this The Nutshell and mail to Northern Nut Growers Association, %Debbie Milks, PO Box 1166, Lawrence, KS 66044 along with a check made payable to the Northern Nut Growers Association.  Register by June 15 to avoid the $50 late fee.  Full refunds will be available through July 5, full refund less a $50 processing fee through July 16, and no refunds after July 16 with few exceptions.

Full and student registrations include registration packet; printed program with abstracts; favor; Sunday’s welcome reception and Show and Tell session; Monday’s technical sessions, lunch, breaks, and auction; Tuesday’s technical sessions, lunch, breaks, social, and banquet; and Wednesday’s SUNY-ESF laboratory and field station tours. Companion registrations do not include Monday and Tuesday’s technical sessions, lunches, or breaks. None of the registrations include transportation or lodging.

If convenient, we would like each attendee to complete their own registration either online or using the form in this issue of The Nutshell.  Additional copies of the registration form can be downloaded from the NNGA website (nutgrowing.org). Children should register with an adult companion who is not attending the Monday and Tuesday technical sessions.


Field tours are scheduled on Wednesday to the ESF laboratories on campus and the research station on Lafayette Road as part of the full and companion registration.  In the afternoon choose one of three off-site field tours with an additional registration.  Plan to drive your own vehicle or carpool on Wednesday morning to the ESF laboratories and field research station.  We will have a signup list at registration for you to sign if you need to car pool and which off-site field tour you are registered for. If carpooling cannot be arranged for everyone, the plan is to rent vans or buses and ask riders to pay a proportionate share of the rental fees. Wednesday afternoon off-site tour options and directions are included in the conference schedule on page 9.


On your way home on Wednesday afternoon or Thursday you may want to participate in a post-conference tour.  A more complete list than below is planned for the summer 2024 The Nutshell, the printed program in your registration packet, and the NNGA website.

The Cornell Botanical Gardens (124 Comstock Knoll Dr, Ithaca, NY) is approximately 1.5 hours or 60 miles west of Syracuse adjacent to the Cornell University campus.  It features 25 acres of specialty gardens and the 150-acre F. P. Newman Arboretum which specializes in trees and shrubs native to New York.  It has a small collection of grafted chestnuts.  The walnut collection is the oldest collection and includes black walnut, butternut, and heartnuts. The grounds and welcome center are open 7 days a week from 6 AM to 6 PM. Suggested route take I-81 south to NY-281 west to NY-13 into Ithaca.



The following is a partial list of the presentations to be scheduled for the conference.  If you are interested in presenting, especially a lightning talk or poster presentation, see the call for presentations on page __ of this issue of The Nutshell.  During the conference, we will have a mix of 10-minute show and tell or “lightning” talks, keynotes, 30-minute presentations, poster presentation, exhibits/displays, and field stops.  The summer 2024 The Nutshell will have a full listing of presentations. All presenters need to submit the title of their presentation, an informational abstract, a bio, and contact information to Jerry Henkin, Program Coordinator, sproutnut@aol.com, (914) 282-1371.

Using Biotechnology to Restore Threatened Trees

Effect of Late Spring Frost on Chestnut Crops

Breeding/Conservation of Castanea genetic resources

Agroforestry Opportunities in Pennsylvania

Forming a Cooperative Entity

Deer and Rodent Protection for Your Trees

The Nutritional Benefits of Nuts

Growing English Walnut in the Northeast


Holocene Paleoecology of Mast Tree Taxa

The versatile honey locust

Nuts for the next generation

Addressing the decline of the Allegheny woodrat

NNGA’s Annual Reports (1910-2017) at Your Fingertips.

Allegheny Chinquapin Breeding

Traits of Native Castanea and Chestnut Hybrids

Chestnut Federal Crop Insurance

Canopy Farm Management Program

Chestnut Pollination Distance and Establishment

NYFVI Specialty Crops Grants Results

Expanding Agroforestry

Using Prescribed Fire to Manage Woodlands

Propagate Ventures

Insects on nut trees

Honoring old nut trees

Top-working hickories

Hazelnut breeding

New York chestnut and hazelnut survey results

Land acquisition for nut tree plantings

Establishing a new nut tree orchard

Nut Growing in Quebec

Mast Potential of Oaks

Farm Net

Land Trusts

Business Side of Nut Growing

My New York Chestnut Orchard (maybe)

A Nut Tree Nursery (maybe)