Oregon has become the hazelnut capital of North America, producing 95% of our supply and exporting 85%. On a world scale, Oregon just produces 3% coming in third place behind Turkey and Italy.
So where do they all go?
Oregon’s crop is exported to countries with different cultures and climates but have one thing in common, they love hazelnuts.
In the kernel market, according to the 2013 Oregon Hazelnut Marketing Board Report, 4,034 tons were shipped to international and domestic customers. Americans received 36% and the remainder was exported.
This year, we expect to see the kernel market change drastically. Domestic customers are importing fewer kernels due to low quality nuts and insect damage. This was great news for the Oregon industry giving us the chance to market our hazelnut quality and develop customer relationships.
Last year, Oregon was exporting inshell hazelnuts to Hong Kong, China, and Vietnam. This year exports are down 95%, however we have a network of North American and European customers to fill the demand.
The world shortage and search for quality hazelnuts has American customers looking to Oregon. Oregon holds a higher quality standard, and the majority of kernels will be staying in the U.S. Hazelnut producers have already benefited from the record price this year, but could also start seeing more of their product on American shelves.
Americans are welcoming the idea of hazelnut products, which holds new opportunities for Oregon producers and the whole industry.
Emilia Craig, Willamette Hazelnut Growers