A retired USDA researcher turned farmer has been named the 2015 Nut Grower of the Year.
Harry Lagerstedt, who worked for the agency’s Agricultural Research Service, is known for his popularization the Ennis hazelnut variety.
The cultivar produces high yields of large nuts and continues to receive a premium price from buyers due to its size, said Dave Smith, an Oregon State University researcher.
After retiring from USDA in 1987, Lagerstedt decided to “put his money where his mouth is” and planted orchards of Ennis hazelnuts and peaches in the Corvallis area, Smith said.
Lagerstedt was unable to accept the prestigious award at the recent annual conference of the Nut Growers Society in Corvallis on Jan. 13 due to a recent death in his family.
The society hopes to present him with the honor at its summer tour later in the year.