Native Nut Processing Equipment
We are The Nutty Buddy Collective (NBC), The Nutty Buddy Collective is an Asheville-based business established in 2014 with the goal of working with community partners to bring native crops to local tables at an economically viable scale, in an ecologically viable way.
The purpose of this fundraiser is to gather donations to buy a commercial-grade nutcracker and other nut processing equipment. Our vision is that this equipment will be a resource for our business and also our community. The fundraising campaign was kicked off at the Carnival of Nuts on November 20th, 4-8pm, at Toy Boat Community Art Space.
We call what we do ‘community supported perennial agriculture’. Because tree crops are slow, land expensive, and margins tight for farmers, we’re looking to our community to help us bring this vision into reality.
Your donations will help us purchase the equipment necessary to move niche crops like black walnut and hickories toward the central place they deserve on our farms and in our regional cuisine. Our nut orchard projects are long-term investment in our region's foodshed. Of course, it will be a long while before our black walnut, hickory, chestnut, and other trees produce a crop - so we want to kick-start the production side of our business by harnessing the value of an often-neglected but widespread natural resource: the wild black walnut and hickory nuts that come from trees that surround us every day.
There aren't many commercial-grade nutcrackers on the market that are made to stand up to the abuse of cracking black walnuts and hickories, but there are a few. The best one we’ve found costs about $5500, and that's just for the cracker. There are more steps and more equipment needed to scale up the process of preparing these nuts for market, including a dehuller, drying and curing equipment, equipment for sorting meat from shells, and storage. We think with the investment of about $10,000 in the right infrastructure, we can begin to bring these crops to market.
--- the Patriot 600 Nut Cracker ---
This equipment, through our model, will also be a community resource. We foresee a future when homeowners and foragers can bring in their nuts and can either have us crack them for their use (for a small fee of either nuts or money), or can just sell the NBC the nuts, thus turning a 'trash' product that messes up their yard into a win-win situation for all parties involved. Anyone with a walnut tree in their yard can become a farmer.
We thank you for considering supporting our work and investing in an abundant, nutty future. A donation of any amount helps us move toward our goal and is deeply appreciated.
Late last summer, with two 99-year leases in place and our young nut & fruit trees slowly and steadily growing into abundant orchards, we decided it was time to start developing our processing facility. Growing the black walnuts, acorns, hickories, chestnuts, hazelnuts, cider pears and apples, aronia berries, and pawpaws is one thing (or, actually, it's many things...). Making these crops into fine food products to be sold to market-goers and chefs is quite another thing.
We're headed into not-very-well-charted territory in our effort to bring these uncommon crops to market. We can't just go to Amazon.com and buy a continuous-feed black walnut cracker or chestnut sheller, for example. The equipment that does exist is often homemade by other nutty tinkerers and difficult to find for sale, let alone for testing and comparing with other options.
So, we set ourselves to researching and some R&D to explore various options and ideas for how to set up our processing facility. We decided to aim first for a large, powerful and versatile nut cracker that could crack a wide variety of nuts with minimal adjustments. We found the Patriot 600, which can handle up to 600 lbs. of nuts per hour. The cost was about $6000. This would allow us to easily crack any nut we wanted and begin to develop sorting (separating nut meat from shell pieces) methods, as well as begin to offer cracking services to other foragers and growers.
We turned to you all, our community of family, friends, customers and accomplices, to help make it happen. And you did! With your generosity and support, we succeed in raising enough funds to buy the cracker. We feel deeply grateful for your donations and, more importantly, for being a part of this wild vision we have for community that cares for each other and the earth for the long-term. You - whether you donated $5 or $500, or supported us with advice or encouragement or collaboration or by simply caring about what we're up to - you are a critical piece of the Nutty Buddy Collective. We call our model 'community-supported perennial agriculture' because, for these slow-growing, long-lived, semi-wild and ecologically-regenerative crops and ways of growing to work, we need a village. Thank you for being a part of our nascent village and helping us take the next big step.
And there's something else, too...now that you've helped us reach our goal, we're excited to announce our next big thing. All the community support, research, conversation, and nut gathering, cracking, and snacking has inspired us to launch the...
Acornucopia is a place where folks can stroll in the shade of their backyards, parks, and farms, picking up nuts and to sell to their local nut depot, bringing health and wealth to people and planet. It's a big vision and lots of fun. Check out the website: https://www.acornucopiaproject.com/
And now, without further ado, here is the Patriot 600 nut cracker in action:
Every fall, many thousands of pounds of native nuts fall around us and by nature are an open source food. Every year they are shuffled out of our yards and into the bins , bags, and bottoms never to reach their intended goal of being food. They are of a higher flavor and nutritional quality than even much of the organic foods brought in from afar.
The idea of harvesting, processing and selling native black walnuts and hickories is a currently obscure concept and hardly any research and development is out there. Wild native nuts are such a marginal economic crop that it is currently reachable by only one large national operator. It is part of the NBC's mission to develop a model and open source all its accompanying technology so anyone anywhere can pick up wherever we are and improve upon it, share it, and create a perennial food collective.
In short, we are developing a model relying on social capital and innovation rather than debt bondage. We believe that if grassroots organizers collaborate, we can create small local models around the world of perennial agriculture that will produce food indefinitely, keep wealth in local communities where it belongs, and environmentally, humans will be a net gain for the planet once again.
Would you care to join us on the journey?