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High harvest season at author Christian DeBenedetti's McMinnville family farm (Springbrook).
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An up-close look at Eastern filbert blight. DeBenedetti's parents eventually tore out part of their Springbrook Farm orchard as a result of the deadly disease.
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A walnut tree watches over "The Hill," where hazelnut orchards once stood at Springbrook Farm.
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OSU plant researcher Shawn Mehlenbacher shows off this year's seedlings. He plants about 5,000 each year, but only about 40 will make it to the next year. The rest are cut out as soon as they demonstrate susceptibility to blight or any number of other weaknesses.
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Jars of hazelnuts from trees grown on the OSU farm fill an entire wall at the research facility, and includes specimens collected in the Willamette Valley as far back as the 1920s.
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Meet Jefferson. The hardy little tree—a descendent of an international mix from Sicily, Spain, Turkey, and the Northwest—has proven highly resistant to blight. Even better, it also resists mites and produces a good-size kernel.
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Fruits of labor: samples of hazelnuts from several different tree varietals
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Mehlenbacher heads into OSU's research orchard to help with the harvest, his grandfather's stool in hand.
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