The Petitts have set the lofty goal of reviving the domestic chestnut industry which had been wiped out by the 1904 chestnut blight that killed almost all American Chestnut trees. The Petitts organize seminars and projects on chestnut growing and marketing in co-operation with the University of Delaware co-op Extension and Delaware State University. Nancy and Gary Petitt are also officers of the Northern Nut Growers Association, a non-profit organization devoted to teaching people about nut trees for the past 90 years. They are also directors in the Pennsylvania Nut Growers Association, and members of the Mid-west Nut Producers Council and the Western Chestnut Organization. Nancy and Gary have lectured on chestnuts throughout the country. Their talks at Michigan State University, the University of Vermont, the Society of Agronomists and the American Chestnut Foundation are spreading exciting news about the domestic chestnut industry. Nancy is also a Delaware Master Gardener.
During the harvest season, Nancy can also be seen in local stores, supermarkets, farmers markets and festivals showing folks how to prepare chestnuts and handing out samples of their sweet Delmarvelous Chestnuts.
Gary's interest in chestnut trees goes way back to his childhood. Gary's father had long labored to reintroduce the chestnut to the Alleghenies near his Bradford, Pennsylvania home. He grew blight-resistant Chinese chestnuts in northwestern Pennsylvania for a number of years and worked with local conservation groups to re-introduce chestnut trees into the forest.
The Petitts talked about starting their own chestnut orchard. In 1993 they purchased their farm. They gradually increased the number of chestnut trees under cultivation. Today their farm specializes in growing and selling gourmet chestnuts. The Petitts also grow and sell fresh market vegetables, cut flowers and nursery stock.
Contact Nancy Petitt at Nancy@buychestnuts.com for questions relating to Delmarvelous Chestnuts.
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