The Sustainable Okanagan 6: Let’s Go Nuts

As part of the effort to make the Okanagan sustainable, we should plant filberts. This scrubby and beautiful bush provides a rich harvest of nuts in the fall.

Filberts are native here, and would grow well in all the boundary areas where Russian olives now thrive. Russian olives are sour dates, with more pit than fruit. No one wants to eat them.

But filberts, ah, they’re wonderful, and their catkins are gorgeous in the winter.

There’s a wild bush down my road, and the one I planted five years ago, as a four-foot-tall sapling, is now fifteen feet tall and rich with nuts. Here’s the wild one, hanging out with a sumac.

There’s room in every yard, along thousands of kilometres of fence lines, along Okanagan Lake, all the way through the wetland hayfields between Penticton and Brewster, for these nuts. There’s no need to bring nuts in from the Coast, where they have squirrels and fungus. Wouldn’t you like your winter’s supply of nuts to come with no additional water expenditure? Wouldn’t you like our recipe base to expand deep into winter? Filberts, that’s the thing. A filbert and almond orchard was planted at Palmer Lake back around 1980, and was abandoned, and turned into horse pasture. The thing is, after all these years, despite the predations of starving horses …

… the filberts are still alive and well, as is that almond you can see in the back. Almonds are more tender and a more finicky choice. This is a remote location. The people are in the main valley, and mostly in the Canadian Okanagan. It’s time to do this right. But, hey, if we want to do almonds as well, I’m all for that too.

But we should do it.

7 replies »

  1. Sounds like a terrific idea! Do you know a source for filbert trees? Swan Lake Nurseryland perhaps? Thank you for the inspiring content in this blog, Harold.


    • Hi,

      Swan Lake has them. Or did in the spring. They’re fairly pricey. There’s an elderly man who sells them at the Farmer’s Market, too, or did in the spring, for a tiny fraction of the price. Bigger trees, too. You can also plant a filbert in the fall. The frost will crack it. It’ll take a few years that way, though. The first year it will grow about 6 inches. If you plant 100, then you have some for your friends, though.




  2. Food revolution revelations . How slow and retarded are we as humans that we just don’t do the right things….. artificial intelligence surrounds us like a barbed wire fence and we stand here waiting…… and waiting for salvation from others. And I thought nuts to this. We have to start acting our age of intelligence one of these days….

    Manfred Harter 250.549.1260



    • Too much easy money, and too much easy intellectualism. Think about it: to be an intellectual in this society means to go through a program of study. To become literate means to go through a program of schooling. Power lies along those roads, but not always the ability to reframe problems. Much work needs to be done.


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