You may know Lorna Milton as the ‘Donut Lady’ from The Old Church Farmers Market but, if you were so lucky, you may have also tasted her backyard maple toasted walnuts.
Many market-goers were surprised to hear that the edible nuts were grown in Albert County.
Lorna and her husband Doran have followed in her family’s footsteps and continue farming the land in Dawson Settlement that her grandfather bought in the early 1900s. Back then, her grandparents lived off the land, like everyone did at that time. Her grandfather also maintained a day job with the railway. Luckily for him, the railway ran straight through his property and each morning he would hop the train to work. He also had a market garden and raised dairy cows. For years, he sold milk to local people and sold the cream to creameries in Moncton and Sussex.
The farm has produced many traditional things in its day, such as dairy and beef, vegetables, ducks and foxes, but nuts are the most exotic. Around 1980, Lorna’s father planted a bunch of walnut whips (branchless saplings) that he had ordered from a tree farm in Tillsonburg, Ontario. What a great gift his next generation is now enjoying!
There is a large disconnect between the food we eat and our knowledge of how or where it is grown. People are often surprised at the many of types of plants that are grown in the Atlantic Provinces. Did you know that there are dozens of orchards growing unexpected fruit in New Brunswick and Nova Scotia? Peaches, nectarines, apricots, kiwi and peanuts often need a warm climate to grow, but there are varieties hardy enough to withstand our harsh winters. In fact, there are a few people growing peaches, arctic kiwis and nuts right here in Albert County. With the right precautions and care, it can be done. Keep an eye out for local shops and growers with these special crops or try growing your own!