Monday, August 20, 2007

The Feast Day of St. Philbert, August 20th

The Feast Day of St. Philbert

I was really glad to read about The Feast Day St. Philbert, because I learned why Oregonians call Hazelnuts Filberts.

As a child when I was driving around the orchards of the Willamette Valley with my mom, she would point out the rows and rows of low and gnarled trees and say, "Those are the filbert orchards. In the United States, Filbert trees only are grown in Oregon. Some people call filberts hazelnuts. People that call them hazelnuts aren't from Oregon."

This made me feel awkward. Now, I have a bit of pride for my Oregon pioneers who had come across the Oregon Trail and settled in the Willamette Valley, but if everyone else in the world called them hazelnuts, maybe that meant that we Oregonians were a little bit backward. I mean really, why filberts? Filbert doesn't even have the word nut in it? We were trying to hide the yummy goodness that is the filbert away from the rest of the world? Because really, if you didn't know that a filbert was a nut, and some one offered you one, you would think that they were offering you a beloved pet to eat?

Anyway, I was always curious as to why these seemed to be a great hazelnut debate.

According to School of the Seasons, St. Philbert was a French saint, and Hazelnut Trees are ready to harvest around the time of the Feast Day of St. Philbert, (which is on August 20th according the the School of the Seasons, and on August 22nd according to other sites) and so his name has been lent to the nut in areas with strong French influences.

Oregon doesn't really have a strong French influence. So, I did some more research. stated that

Frenchman David Gernot arrived in Oregon in the 17th century with European hazel trees and a personal mission. When he stumbled into the beautiful Willamette Valley, he was reminded of his home in the Loire valley. Without hesitation, he staked out his home and planted the first of his 50-tree grove. Other planters followed and by the early 1900s, hazelnut orchards had taken root in Oregon, where their nuts are produced commercially to this day.

Now, there are lots of different ways to eat a filbert.

If you are not if you are not afraid of cracking your teeth, you can eat them straight from the shell.

You can grind them up and put them in cookies and cakes.

Or you can cover them in chocolate, and then they are just perfect. If you are looking for Chocolate Covered Hazelnuts, Edgy has some, straight from Oregon.

Oh, and I have some too, but I am not sure if I am nice enough to share.


Edgy said...

Ummm . . . When have we known Edgy to share, well, anything?

Absent-minded Secretary said...

You share books, and opinions, and car rides, and Puppy kisses.

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filberthockey said...

Happy Filbert Hockey Day.