PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — The Hazelnut Growers of Oregon unveiled their brand new, state-of-the-art processing facility on Wednesday.
The 120,000-square-foot facility in Donald will benefit hundreds of Oregon farms and the economy.
Oregon produces 99% of the hazelnuts in the U.S. and leaders in the industry say the market is still growing.
“We’re expecting a record crop this year anywhere from 50,000 tons to 60,000 tons,” Hazelnut Growers of Oregon plant manager Jason Costa said.
The facility will be the most modern hazelnut handling facility in North America. It’s the first from the ground up facility in decades.
“So we were able to design to meet not just the needs for the crop today, but for the needs of the crop that’s coming in the future,” Hazelnut Growers of Oregon vice president of sales and marketing, Patrick Gabrish said.
The facility is adding more jobs and helping boost the already booming $250 million industry in Oregon.
Hazelnut Growers of Oregon hope to increase the demand for their product — with a vision of growing the desire for Oregon hazelnuts around the world.
“Retail bags, paste, butters, sliced, diced – that will allow us to get the product on the shelves of more stores,” Gabrish said.
The Oregon hazelnut industry is expected to double in the next 5-7 years. There are about 800 Oregon farm families growing hazelnuts on 67,000 acres.