With the recent development of improved hazelnut germplasm for growers in the Upper Midwest, the industry is poised for rapid expansion. To facilitate this expansion the University of Wisconsin launched the Hazelnut Processing Accelerator in partnership with Northland College, the American Hazelnut Company, the Main Street Project, and the Bayfield Regional Food Producers Cooperative. The purpose of the Accelerator is to develop processing technology and equipment optimized to hazelnuts grown in the Upper Midwest while providing a bridge processing facility until production volumes are sufficient to support a financially viable facility. With more than two years of processing experience, we have identified waste streams that are not suitable for human food or require further processing that is too expensive at this time. Such waste streams may be suitable for livestock feed.
This project will evaluate the feed quality of undersized nuts, half-cracked nuts, and mixtures of the kernel and shell fragments and conduct a feeding trial with pigs to quantify the effect of the feeds on carcass and meat quality. Such information will allow pork producers and hazelnut growers in the Upper Midwest to capitalize on the growing market for mast-finished regional pork.
Project objectives from proposal:
- Analyze the nutritional components of hazelnut screenings including: ground whole undersized nuts, half-cracked nuts, three mixtures of shell and kernel fragments.
- Evaluate the growth performance and meat quality of pigs finished with hazelnuts.
- Develop and publish a feeding program for hazelnut growers and pork producers for finishing pigs with hazelnuts.
- Conduct a consumer-preference and tasting survey for hazelnut-finished pork.