Where to Buy Chestnuts in Tennessee

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mixed nuts

Chestnuts roasting on an open fire … the image is romantic, but rather unlikely, according to David Lockwood, extension fruit and nut specialist at the University of Tennessee.

Once an important and common tree in the state, the American chestnut was virtually wiped out by a blight that started in New York City in the 1930s and spread across the country.

Researchers are working on a blight-resistant strain, which they hope to introduce to East Tennessee in the next several years, but until then, sugar-coated pecans might be a good holiday alternative to buttery chestnuts.

“Pecans are the major nut produced in Tennessee because they are native to the Mississippi Valley. But the majority of chestnuts we consume are imported from Italy,” Lockwood says.

A handful of Tennesseans do grow and sell chestnuts, however.

Hector Black of Cookeville tends approximately 50 Chinese and Japanese chestnut trees on his Hidden Springs Orchard farm, selling the nuts by the pound from September to December.

Jenny and Darrin Drake of Hickman also grow and sell chestnuts from their farm, Peaceful Pastures. Their American Chestnuts are among a handful of Tennessee trees spared from the blight.

4 Comments

  1. Wayne (Doc) Georgiades

    March 29, 2015 at 9:48 pm

    I would like 4 trees but I understand they will not self pollinate I want for my property and a hunting lease in perry county. what would you use to plant to get them to pollinate and produce their fruit.

  2. Charles fisher

    December 11, 2016 at 5:55 pm

    May I buy chestnut trees seed from you? My father spoke of great the were. I live in South east Tenn. My e mail is charles580@verizon.net thank you for your help.

  3. AAron Crawford

    September 24, 2018 at 4:08 pm

    The chestnut trees at Peaceful Pastures are not American Chestnut. This is not meant as a criticism of the farm or their trees. American Chestnut trees are extremely rare, and so when I saw the claim in this article of surviving American Chestnuts at Peaceful Pastures, I hoped it was true. I drove a long distance to visit these trees, and am simply trying to spare someone else a similar expense.

    • Royal P.

      February 18, 2019 at 11:38 am

      Thank you for posting this AAron Crawford. I live in East TN and was going to try and reach out to them to discuss the possibility of getting some seeds/cuttings/etc.

      If you do find any, please let me know!

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