By David Bates • Staff Writer • 

Hazelnuts a big crop locally

Official surveys date back to the mid-20th century, when Oregon claimed just over 26,000 acres of orchard land planted in hazelnuts. According to the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service, Oregon had nearly 32,000 acres by 2012.

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Yamhill County’s acreage has climbed steadily in the last decade, though the number of operations has actually decreased, thanks to a trend toward consolidation that has single operators increasingly managing multiple orchards.

In 2004, the county boasted 6,350 acres of hazelnuts. By 2008, it was up to 6,680, and in 2012, it reached 7,410.

That’s more acreage than is devoted to berry crops, Christmas trees or silage corn. In fact, it’s more than the 5,800 devoted to wine grapes.