The town of Ordu in Turkey lies more than 6,000 miles away from Oregon's town of Donald, with an entire ocean between them. Both towns lie on the 45th parallel, a latitudinal line upon which the climate for hazelnuts is just right.
Turkey is the largest producer of hazelnuts in the world, and the primary competitor with Oregon’s growing hazelnut industry. Turkey produces around 70% of the world’s hazelnuts, while Oregon produces around 5%.
The state is more saturated with hazelnut farms than any other time in its history. The number of planted hazelnut acres in Oregon has tripled over the past decade. More than 50,000 acres bear nuts. More than 30,000 acres will begin to bear nuts over the next five years.
Turkey is at an economic advantage because of lower cost of labor. Its economy is also weighed down by inflation, which has reduced the cost of its exports and flooded the market. But Oregon has some secret weapons to compete with cheaper Turkish nuts.
One of these is a state-of-the-art processing facility in Donald, Oregon, owned by Hazelnut Growers of Oregon, a 180-member cooperative. The plant has the capacity to process 160,000 pounds of hazelnuts per hour.