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Sep 30, 2006 07:11 AM

Chestnut Picking?

Last year RWCFoodie posted about U-pick chestnuts -

Any information on whether this continues this year?

Here's what was published in ChowNews 11/11/05 -


Skyline Chestnuts Orchard [Peninsula
]22322 Skyline Blvd (Hwy 35)
Palo Alto

Hidden in the hills above Palo Alto, Skyline Chestnut Orchard is a delicious secret if you like to roast your own chestnuts. Nearly all chestnuts we see in the US are imported, as most American chestnut groves were wiped out by blight early in the twentieth century. This century-old old orchard survived, and during the harvest season (mid October through late November) you can pick your own. Navigate a dirt road, collect your five-gallon bucket and heavy gloves, and go to town. These are smaller than Italian chestnuts, and hardly cheap at $5/lb (with discounts for 30 lbs or more), but they're very tasty, and the freshest you'll ever find, says *RWCFoodie*. (For roasting instructions and other tips, see CHESTNUTS, in General Topics, below).

The place is a little tough to locate; here are driving directions:

From the north: Take Woodside Road (Hwy 84) west, Turn left (south) on Skyline Blvd (Hwy 35), pass Page Mill and continue for 3 miles; the farm is on the right side of the road.

From the south: Take Hwy 9 west, turn right on Skyline Blvd (Hwy 35), and continue north about 5 miles; the farm is on the left side of the road.

Some background -

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  1. I don't know the status on Skyline Chestnuts, but if you want to wander a little further north (Sebastopol), Green Valley Chestnut Ranch has u-pick (and home delivery if you just want to order and have them mailed to you).

    Green Valley Chestnut Ranch
    11100 Green Valley Road
    Sebastopol, CA 95472

    From their web site:

    "This year we are planning special ‘open house’ events during National Chestnut Week. During the first two weekends of October (Saturday/Sunday October 7/8 and October 14/15) we will be open to the public for orchard tours, chestnuts u-pick, tasting, roasted chestnuts, and sales of Colossal Variety chestnuts, our Chestnut Honey, Chestnut Roasters, chestnut puree and crème, chestnut cookbooks, and other chestnut specialty products."

    4 Replies
    1. re: miss louella

      Splendid, thank you! The article in Palo Alto online that I had linked above had made reference to chestnut orchards in Sebastopol and Brentwood, the only other ones in California. This must be the Sebastopol source. I can't seem to find anything about an orchard in Brentwood, anyone know about it?

      One web reference said there are less than 500 acres of commercial chestnut orchards in the US. We're lucky to have these close to us.

      1. re: Melanie Wong

        Well, I found nothing in Brentwood, but I did find a directory of chestnut growers and they include these for northern CA:

        Tom Brewer
        Chestnut Ridge Ranch
        7700 Peachland Road, PO Box 119
        Boonville, CA 95415
        Phone: 707-895-3870

        Tim Dabel
        Green Valley Chestnut Ranch
        11100 Green Valley Rd.
        Sebastopol, CA 95472
        Phone: 707-829-3304

        Lucienne Grunder & Dan Titzel
        5999 Arbolada Drive
        La Grange, CA 95329-9730
        Phone: 209-852-9426
        Cell: 209-471-8145
        Fax: 209-852-9753
        Email: owl-nuts@ix.netcom.com

        Hans Johsens
        Skyline Chestnuts
        20514 Gist Rd.
        Los Gatos, CA 95033
        Phone: 408-395-0337
        Email: skylinechestnuts@earthlink.net

        Ellen T. Edwards
        East Ridge Ranch
        1101 Clark Road
        Marshall, CA 94940
        Phone: 415-663-0703
        Fax: 415-663-9088
        Email: ellened415@earthlink.net

        Here's the link for the member directory for the chestnut growers of America:

        Anyone want to share how they use these gems over on the home cooking board?

        1. re: miss louella

          Great, thanks for doing that. And, the directory has this grower in Isleton in Solano County -
          Harvey Correia
          Correia Chestnut Farm
          16779 Hwy 160
          Isleton, CA 95641
          Phone: 866-492-4769
          Fax: 866-492-8245

          1. re: miss louella

            Not a u-pick, but I found one more local source of chestnuts. Hollyhock Farms of Potter Valley (hollyhock@pacific.net) was selling at the Healdsburg farmers market on Saturday morning. They grow Colossals. The gentleman told me that he would be in Healdsburg again this coming Saturday too.

      2. I agree with the above, the American chestnuts are the freshest and sweetest you're likely to find anywhere.

        There's also a place out towards Gualala on Fish Rock Rd, off 128 near Yorkville. Waaay out in the boonies...miles beyond the paved section of the road, but lots of chestnuts.

        We also love the chestnuts at Green Valley chestnut ranch, but recommend getting them fresh before they've been frozen, as the frozen ones seem a bit dry.

        3 Replies
        1. re: chilihead2006

          I'm definitely interested in some chestnut picking this weekend. Has anyone been to Green Valley before? Does anyone know if I can bring my puppy along? I've called several times and haven't been able to get a hold of a person on the other end.

          1. re: anna

            We made it over to Green Valley on sunday and came home with 20lbs of chestnuts! This is something I would definitely do again next year, or at Skyline if it will have harvest later on this year.

            For those who are interested but have not done this before, here are some things I wish I knew before going:
            It's somewhat physically demanding as you have to squat on the ground to pick up the chestnuts. Next time I may bring a stepping stool to sit on....
            There are lots and lots of bugs, especially spiders. I'll definitely have bug spray on next time.
            The ground is quite uneven and filled with the spiky outer shells of the chestnuts. Wear closed toe shoes. Also, bring a pair of thick gardening gloves with you so you can open up the unopended spiky shells to get the chestnuts inside. Green Valley ran out of them and I got one glove with holes on them.
            Bring cash or check as Green Valley can't take credit cards onsite. I didn't have enough cash or a check with me and they just asked us to send them a check with we get home. Very nice people over there.

            1. re: anna

              I'd imagine that all the spiky chestnut shells on the ground could be problematic for any dog.

          2. We've gone back and forth on Highway 35/Skyline quite a few times over the last few weeks and haven't seen the "Open" sign out or any other signs of life at the Skyline Chestnuts Orchard yet this year...

            1. I found some info on this page.


              The listing is for Skyline Chestnuts, though I have not tried calling.

              1. I just called Skyline Chesnuts to see if they were open yet. They said they'd probably start this Saturday (10/14). I'm going to be out of town this weekend, so will probably aim for next weekend. The hours are 8:30 AM-4 PM.

                You can call them and check to see if they're open. If they're not available they said they'd be changing their answering machine to tell their hours and when they are open.

                Skyline Chestnuts
                20514 Gist Rd.
                Los Gatos, CA 95033
                Phone: 408-395-0337
                Email: skylinechestnuts@earlink.net

                3 Replies
                1. re: thejulia

                  Thanks for looking into it and sharing the information!

                  1. re: thejulia

                    I just spoke with someone there. I was told that chestnut picking will start this Saturday at around 8am till about 4:30 or 5pm. It will be daily from Saturday until right before Thanksgiving (earlier if they run out of chestnuts....).

                    Also, the location for Skyline Chestnuts is 22322 Skyline Blvd, Palo Alto. The Los Gatos address is just a mailing address.

                    1. re: anna

                      This is a GREAT thread - thanks for all the info everyone! I had no idea that we had chestnut orchards nearby.

                      FYI, I finally got through to someone at Green Valley. Their chestnut open house (tour, picking, etc.) is this Sat. and Sun. from 1pm - 4pm.