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Chestnuts — a rare find in the Bay Area — grows in the hills above Palo Alto

Original post made on Nov 15, 2019

About 2,500 feet above Palo Alto in the Santa Cruz Mountains, there's a 20-acre farm that nurtures a rare crop for this area: chestnuts.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Friday, November 15, 2019, 6:55 AM

Comments (10)

7 people like this
Posted by Brit
a resident of Palo Verde
on Nov 15, 2019 at 8:14 am

These are obviously edible chestnuts.

There is another type, horse chestnuts which take me back to my childhood. The trees were so common all over the UK that we used to collect the horse chestnuts. They were called conkers and we would thread a string through them and then "battle" them with our friends. There were tricks to making our conkers stronger, but I can't quite remember them. The winner of the battle was the one whose conker remained on the string and it was called a conker 1, if you ended up with a conker 5 or a conker 6, you were the proudest child in the playground. They still do that and now there are conker championships. Web Link


1 person likes this
Posted by Reggie
a resident of Palo Alto Hills
on Nov 15, 2019 at 9:47 am

Correction: The chestnut orchard is located on public land within the Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District's Skyline Ridge Preserve. Mr. Johsens has an agreement with Midpen Open Space to manage the orchard and sell the chestnuts in alignment with Midpen's mission of preserving, restoring and providing public access to open space.


2 people like this
Posted by Reggie
a resident of Palo Alto Hills
on Nov 15, 2019 at 9:49 am

Correction: The chestnut orchard is owned by the public as part of the Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District's Skyline Ridge Preserve. Mr. Johsens has an agreement with Midpen Open Space to manage the orchard and sell the chestnuts in alignment with Midpen's mission of preserving, restoring and providing public access to open space.


2 people like this
Posted by Jocelyn Dong
editor of the Palo Alto Weekly
on Nov 15, 2019 at 12:04 pm

Jocelyn Dong is a registered user.

Thank you, Reggie. You are correct. We've changed "Owner" to "Manager" in the second paragraph.


2 people like this
Posted by Elspeth
a resident of Crescent Park
on Nov 15, 2019 at 12:14 pm

To Joceyln Dong - in the second paragraph, you should change the possessive pronoun "his" in the phrase " his American-hybrid and Japanese chestnut trees" to "the" to make it clear Mr. Johsens is not the owner (and highlight his wonderful public service in managing the land). Also, the article should give credit to the mission and implementation of the MidPen Open Space Preserve and give them credit for the fantastic work they do!


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Posted by Melanie
a resident of another community
on Nov 15, 2019 at 1:28 pm

Corrections
It should be "Glen Barnett" (not Bill Barnett) in the article text (it is correct in the photo captions)
It should be "Melanie Barnett" (not Melania Barnett) in the photo captions (it is correct in the article text.


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Posted by Anon
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 15, 2019 at 5:48 pm

>> American-hybrid and Japanese chestnut trees

This orchard was mentioned in another thread. I'm curious about the hybrid-- I guess the hybrid must be resistant to Chestnut Blight? I believe that orchards of pure native American Chestnut are pretty much impossible to grow now: Web Link


7 people like this
Posted by Toni
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Nov 16, 2019 at 4:26 pm

I think it’s a bad idea to push the idea that the public owns these trees. Something more nuanced is needed: The Open Space District owns the trees, and the land, and makes them accessible for the public’s enjoyment, subject, of course, to necessary rules and restrictions. I have witnessed people try to steal chestnuts and also beat the chestnut tree branches, claiming it’s their right to do so because the public owns them. Mr. Johsens has never asserted that he owns the orchard. He owns the crop and he owns the business that manages the orchard, and, equally importantly, he protects the trees from the idiots who think they can do what they want on Open Space land.


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Posted by Jocelyn Dong
editor of the Palo Alto Weekly
on Nov 18, 2019 at 8:49 am

Jocelyn Dong is a registered user.

Melanie and Glen: Our apologies! The article and photo captions have been corrected. Thank you for participating in our story.


1 person likes this
Posted by Trevor Adams
a resident of another community
on Dec 20, 2019 at 3:11 pm

I live in the Santa Cruz Mountains near the Loma Prieta towers at 2400 feet and we have more chestnut trees growing in the wild than I know what to do with. We get hundreds of pounds of chestnuts a year and the deer/wild life love them. We think its an Italian variety of chestnut, but we don't know. We have sold to the summit store in Los Gatos before for $3/lb. I would love to know where and who do I get in contact to sell and identify our chestnuts. We have a tree that has got to be 60+ years old. My email address [email protected]


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