Northeast Michigan Chestnut Field Day set for Sept. 15, 2018

Join Nick and Abby Johnson on their farm in Rogers City to learn about the feasibility of chestnut production in northeastern Lower Michigan.

Ox Heights chestnut orchard.
Ox Heights chestnut orchard. Photo by Nick Johnson.

Edible chestnut production is a growing industry in Michigan. Chestnuts are cold-sensitive and susceptible to winter and spring injury. This cold-sensitivity has driven the bulk of acreage expansion into the relatively warmer growing sites located in western and southern Michigan. Nick and Abby Johnson of Ox Heights Farm in Rogers City, Michigan, developed a Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE)-funded project in cooperation with Michigan State University Extension to evaluate the viability of chestnut production in northeastern Michigan, specifically in the high ridge regions of Moltke Township. They have also partnered with Brege Farms to look at hay cropping in the planting to improve soils and ease the economic burden of tree establishment.

The Johnsons are opening their farm to the public on Sept. 15, 2018, from 1-4 p.m. for a Northeast Michigan Chestnut Field Day. They’ll share what they have learned during the project and provide information to those who might be interested in growing chestnuts in Michigan. This event is free to the public and no RSVP is required. Light snacks and beverages from Knaebe's Crunchy Munchy Apple Farm will be served.

The event will take place rain or shine, so please plan accordingly. Questions can be directed to Abby Johnson at 517-740-1551 or

Ox Heights Farm is located at 2330 N. Angle Rd, Rogers City, MI 49779.

Schedule of events

  • 1–2:30 p.m.: Presentation — Why chestnuts? Why Moltke Ridge? What did we do? What have we learned?
  • 2:30–3 p.m.: Orchard tour — Inspect varieties, infrastructure and landscape.
  • 3:30–4 p.m.: Demonstration — Tree planting and tree protection.

This material is based upon work that is supported by the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, U.S. Department of Agriculture, under award number 2017-70006-27175 and 2016-38640-25381 through the North Central Region Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education program under subaward number FNC17-1081. USDA is an equal opportunity employer and service provider. Visit

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