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Hazelnuts in the U.S

Hazelnuts have got an interesting social history and environmental history that is worth a review. Hazelnuts are the products of a bushy plant that grows up to a height of between 1. 8 to 3. 6 meters. It is botanically referred to as Corylus avellana . The hazelnuts grow in husks that are very bristly and characteristically constricted just above the the nut to form a long neck.

There are various species of this plant but much of their physical difference is in their sizes and shapes. Most areas in the United States have favorable conditions for the growth of hazelnuts, but the eastern half of US and along the coastal region of Pacific are the most ideal for this plant. Where they are growing in the wild, they are known as filberts.

They are not limited to America, but are found even in other countries and continents such as Europe and Asia especially in areas ranging between the Himalayas to China up to Japan. They grow along with other riparian forms of vegetation and also in the open fields but never in the closed canopy forest communities. The edible parts of the hazelnuts are called the kernel. They are cracked up to expose this kernel but are most delicious when dried. They have very high content of oil .

This paper is going to review the environmental and social history of the of the hazelnuts in the United States of America, with attention being given to the introduction of this commodity in the United States, the spread of the crop around the world through shipping, the traditional and earlier methods of processing the hazelnuts, the dynamics of labor supply in the hazelnuts production industry, the impacts of the hazelnuts industry production on the surroundings and how they have shifted as the years pass on, transport issues, the reasons as to why the nuts have gained so much popularity, marketing strategies developed for this crop as well as the current challenges and opportunities that have not been explored already. Labor issues A recent survey on the hazelnut plant conducted by agricultural research institute in Oregon, USA showed that there are six hundred and forty eight hazelnuts tree plantations for pure commercial purpose. This was an improvement compared to the 2005 survey which showed that 19 companies had been put in the category of nut tree farming industry. These farms are covered by employment insurance although there are other smaller tree fields that do not exceed certain payroll limits. Such farms make use of contractors for farm labor, or they may entirely employ family members .

Only few people get employed in these small farms because much of the available work is done by the owner of the farm with assistance from their own family members. Contrary to what used to happen in the past, labor is largely reduced due to the incorporation of machines in executing the farm operations. There has been seasonal shifts in the employment patterns in response to times that require more workforce and at times when there is minimum on farm nativities During the harvest time of October every year, there is remarkable rise in the employment level because this is the hazelnut harvesting period. Environmental impacts of the production process Hazelnuts are plants and any human activity related to the extraction and establishment of this plant will always have an effect on the environment.

First, when the plant’s economic value was known and proved a viable plant for commercial purposes, indigenous plants were cleared minimum fields to create room for the establishment of the hazelnuts orchards. This led to loss of biodiversity in regions where massive destruction of indigenous plant communities occurred, for example in Oregon USA. The plant also led to the replacement of pre-existing crop plants in favor of the hazelnuts. this was mainly because the plant required continued husbandry practices for it to yield the optimum yields as expected. These plant caring and management practices could only be done if the plant was transferred from the wilderness to the crop fields.

The major waste material from the processing of hazelnuts is its shell, which is very rich in in calories and has very low impact on the environment. There fore this waste product is ecologically sustainable. As a result, premises in the in hazelnuts processing industries are equipped with specially designed heat enhancing gadgets for generating heat from these energy rich waste materials. Heat generated this way is used for industrial heating and for dying of machines. Through the use of hazelnuts waste products , the fossil fuels which were formerly used for heating and drying purposes have been completely substituted by this nuts ‘ shells to ensure the surrounding environment is safe for humans.

Since the introduction of this technology in the industry, there has been reduced pollution of air from the by products of fossil fuel combustion in the vicinity of these industries. Since this hazelnuts is a food product, the companies involved in its production , for example the La Gentile , are now capable of producing their food products in a sound environment as per the requirements of public health and industrial production statutes. Such environment is also a safeguard to the high quality of the products of these industries Advancements in the production of the hazelnuts has led to agricultural research, which has led to the introduction of hybrid varieties of hazelnuts.

According to agronomical information from the plant experts, these hybrids require high levels of the nitrogen nutrient but this has not been confirmed from replicated treatments. Based on their argument, this variety may require use of excessive nitrogen fertilizers for maximum production. This is not only economically extravagant, but also environmentally not sound. This excess nitrogen introduction to the soil with an aim of benefiting the hazelnuts plant also led to the replacement of pre-existing crop plants in favor of the hazelnuts. This was mainly because the plant required continued husbandry practices for it to produce the optimum yields expected.

These plant caring and management practices could only be done if the plant was transferred from the wilderness to the crop fields. This excess N has been shown to have damaging effects on of N have been shown to have damaging effects on the hazelnuts plant in the subsequent years. The high N levels may also be too toxic for soil micro organisms in the soil, or even toxic to other plant species growing together with the hazelnuts. This may result to an imbalance in the ecological equilibrium and the such a trend is not admirable at all. These higher levels of N have been shown to have damaging effects on the hazelnuts plant in the subsequent years. production process changed over time

Traditionally, hazelnuts were consumed raw by cracking the husks and get the kernel. However, since this nut is most delicious when dry, the nut were picked from the plants and first dried before they could be consumed. But they remain delicious whether raw or when roasted. Roasting is used to enhance the flavor and has got no effect on the nutritional content. Small scale buyers for domestic use can buy hazelnuts that are roasted or those which are raw and roast them at their homes. Roasting can either be done in the oven or in modern microwaves. Oven roasting involve putting hazelnuts in shelves of the oven and heat at about two hundred and seventy five degrees for a period of about twenty to thirty minutes.

They are then removed from the oven and then poured in to a plate , covered with very clean and sterilized kitchen towel, steam for 3 to 4 minutes and then rubbed vigorously for about one to three minutes or just until most of the coat is removed. But in case you are using a modern microwave cooking equipment, it is advisable to run it at full power for three to four minutes , then remove them, pour them in to a bowel, rub with a clean towel and just as in the oven case, steam them for 3 to 4 minutes then rub them until much of the skin is removed. The hazelnuts manufacturing factory was first established in the year 1952 and involved the use of a unique roasting process that used copper pot. This technique processed nuts to supply the wholesale market. transportation issues Transporting hazelnuts require special arrangements because of its nature.

Packaging for transport involve the use of polysacks ranging from five to twenty five kg or use of flat jute bags made of fabric whose weight ranges from ten to fifteen kg or the use of cartons of ten kg. Packaging is done in a void or a vacuum because the nuts are not supposed to be exposed to the atmospheric oxygen. The packaging should also be lined with plastic material to avoid or reduce the risk of rancidity. Transport can be by means of truck, by cargo train or by ship. Containers that are ventilated are used if the preconditions set regarding the water and oil content, flooring and packaging are at their lower limits and also if direct solar heating is prevented.

During rainfall or snow fall, this external moisture should be prevented from reaching the cargo to avoid mold, self heating due to raised respiration activity and also possible spoilage due to high moisture content. The use of hooks when handling bagged cargo should never be attempted to avoid spoiling the bags and subsequent loss of volume. To ensure safe transport, the baggage ought to be stowed and secured in the transport mode under use in such a way that they may not shift during the transportation period. The stowage pattern should be selected carefully especially in situations which may require special considerations like ventilation issues. During loading, the use of dunnage should always be ensured to avoid damage of the cargo.

For the floor, the dunnage should be criss- crossing together with a packing paper while side dunnage should be wooden with mats or jute covering to protect the cargo from metallic ship body, because metal traces can promote rancidity mainly due to oxidation. Top dunnage is essential to only shipments of the hazelnuts cargo to areas that are known to be called or during winter if the ship is destined to a tropical port, because sweat may accidentally drip on to the cargo. Growth in popularity. Hazelnuts have formed part of human diet for over five centuries , a traditional belief held that hazelnuts could cure every ailment and condition both internal and external, even baldness. Chinese believe that hazelnuts was and is a sacred nourishment meant for humans. This plant is also adored in the mythical Rome.

In July the year 2003, The Food and Drug Administration of the United States announced an health claim about nuts that through research, it had been proved that consuming 1. 5 ounces of many types of nuts including hazelnuts a day as a source of low fat and cholesterol containing food reduced the risk of contracting heart diseases which are one of the major killer diseases in America. The diet guidelines claimed that 1. 5 ounces of nuts may be substitute 1. o ounces of beef or any other form of meat. This amount of hazelnuts is equivalent to a third full cup. Despite these believes and government announcement, hazelnuts have been analysed for their nutritional value and this is felt to be the major reason why it has grown global popularity and many people buy it.

They are rich sources of nutrients like arginine which is an amino acids that once in the body relaxes the blood vessels; foliate, vitamin Bs which are essential for a healthy heart; minerals like Ca, Mg, and K which lower the blood pressure; sources of fiber, protein and vitamin E as well as other antioxidants. The oil content in hazelnuts is up to ninety one percent useful and healthy to the body. For every one hundred grams of hazel nuts, it contains 630 kilo calories of energy, 17 grams carbohydrates, about ten grams of dietary fiber, 61 grams fat/oil content, protein content of 15 grams, 4. 7, 290 and 680 mg of iron, calcium and potassium respectfully according to the United States Department of agriculture (USDA) dietary statistics.

For those who may like to restrict carbohydrate intake, one cup of these nuts flour has 20g and 12g carbohydrate and fiber respectively. Hazelnuts promoted The use of the hazelnuts and other related products was promoted and is even today the the responsibility of the Hazelnut Council. This council is comprised of trade associations that represent companies which export the hazelnuts to Turkey, those who import in the non hazelnuts growing regions of United States and also the hazelnut industry based in Oregon. Marketing For the first half of the last century, marketing of the hazelnuts was localised and the indurstrial commodities were only sold to locals.

Most people could collect and use traditional methods of preparing them or could gather them from the fields and from the riparian vegetation communities and consume them raw. As technology advanced, new techniques of roasting and packaging the product were discovered. Scientific analysis of the crop led to gain of popularity in most parts of America and the world. Improved transport means opened new markets within America. Companies sold directly to consumers and middlemen on cash basis. Recent information technology advancement has led to on line marketing of the hazelnut. Today, hazelnuts have been sold as snacks to air plane passengers and has therefore gained global publicity. Thousands of orders are shipped to overseas countries annually. Hazelnut Marketing Board, which was established in !

949 by the nut stakeholders was mandated to market the product and set standards for the nut to avoid poor quality and also to encourage good prices. This board is currently participating in a partnership with Turkey to try a joint marketing plan. They aim to persuade companies to produce hazelnut added commodities and also to publicise the nutritional importance of hazelnuts. This is both a challenge and an opportunity for shaping the future of Hazelnut industry. There is also a challenge of Eastern Filbert Blight disease is recommended that N reliable levels should be developed to ensure more produce with minimal detrimental effects to the environment, Research to find ways of eradicating the blight and also more marketing to access the whole world.

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