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Chestnut Carnival 2023


CONTACT: Lyle Estill, (919) 200-5549.

The Plant in Pittsboro Announces Chestnut Carnival

On October 15, from 2:00 until 7:00, there will be a Chestnut Carnival at the Plant in Pittsboro.

Festivities will begin with a native plants landscape design charette lead by Preston Montague, a Durham based landscape architect. The public is welcome to join in this conversation.

There will be roasted chestnuts for sale, chestnut shelling demonstrations, chestnut trees for sale at Rachel’s Native Plants, chestnut cocktails from the Fair Game Beverage Company, and chestnut beer from Fullsteam Brewing. On demand Chestnut Carnival shirts will be available from Hempsmith Clothing.

At 4:30 there will be a screening of Clear Day Thunder, a new documentary from the American Chestnut Foundation.

Chestnut dishes will be on the menu at Lilly Den Farm Meats and Eats, at Metal Brixx Café, and at Kingston 99, Pittsboro’s new Jamaican food restaurant.

The Plant is on the eastern edge of Pittsboro, at the end of Lorax Lane. It is the home of Starrlight Mead, BMC Brewing, and a handful of other local businesses.

For years visitors to the Plant have entered the campus beneath a canopy of two giant chestnut trees. They were planted in 2005 and have become large bearers of chestnut fruit.

The owners of the Plant, Tami Schwerin, Lyle Estill, and their son Arlo Estill, have been working on growing chestnuts in Chatham County for thirty-three years.

“It took us decades to produce enough chestnuts to eat.” said Estill. “Now that the chestnut drop is growing, we need to get others eating chestnuts again.”

Chestnut grower Zach Petersen, from Rockingham County, will be providing nuts to the Chestnut Carnival. “Everybody knows about chestnuts roasting over an open fire from the Nat King Cole Song,” said Petersen. “Few people have ever sunk their teeth into a freshly roasted chestnut.”

Chestnut Carnival intends to change that. The chestnut was once an important source of both calories and wood during America’s colonial period. The mountains of North Carolina were referred to by the Cherokee as “the white mountains,” because the forest appeared white from the catkins of plentiful chestnut trees in spring.

A blight knocked the tree to the edge of extinction, but it is currently enjoying a resurgence thanks to human aided endeavors.

“If we want to save the tree, we need to eat its fruit,” said Estill. “At Chestnut Carnival we are going to show how that’s possible—and delicious.”

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1 commentaire

Camille Armantrout
Camille Armantrout
23 août 2023

I was raised on roasted chestnuts, but then they disappeared. Thank you for bringing them back!

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