Fruit and Nut
Important message: Ándi Wilson, the owner of this website, suddenly has passed away on the 4th of December 2020 R.I.P. Please do not make further orders or enquiries via email account of fruitandnut.ie or sustainability.ie. The business is closed from 04/12/2020.However, please note: both websites of Ándi Wilson - sustainability.ie and fruitandnut.ie - will be preserved and stay live as knowledge and information sharing sites for everyone working on climate change action and global justice via the newly set-up archive of Gluaiseacht.ie, an Irish NGO for Global Justice. We have received many lovely messages of support and condolences from friends and customers of Ándi from all over Ireland. As an example of all those message we would like to give one example, as we feel it is apt and representative of many of these reactions to the untimely passing of our dear son, brother, (close) friend and colleague, Ándi Wilson: "May I offer my condolences to you and all of his 'family'. He touched so many people and his work will live on through the orchards he has fathered around Ireland and further afield. (...) You will understand that his voice and work for the environment really has touched so many." C O'B (one of many customers who received trees, advice, consultation and/or personal support from our beloved Ándi). We would like to thank all people who sent such messages of support and condolence. We are very touched by the level of appreciation for Ándi's efforts for sustainability, food security in Ireland and abroad, but certainly here in the Republic of Ireland which became Ándi's preferred place of domicile from a very early age onwards.
Fruit and Nut is an independent horticultural research establishment based in the west of Ireland. The research is primarily focused on global warming and food security issues, particularly with regard to the potential of tree crops in cool temperate climates (and especially nuts as within the range of trees that could produce an edible crop, nut trees - by virtue of their higher calorific, protein and lipid content - have the greatest food security potential).
As far as we are aware, we are the only research establishment in Europe - possibly the whole of the Northern Hemisphere - that is looking specifically at the contribution of tree crops to local food security. Of particular interest is the establishment of nut orchards in Ireland.
In addition to the nut research, the nursery also has trialled many different varieties of fruit and fruit rootstocks, and is currently trialling a selection of berries suited to cultivation in acid peat.
The nursery is also a supplier of fruit and nut trees.The nursery carries the largest range of nut trees in Ireland and is Ireland's leading supplier of nut trees. Our speciality nut trees include cobnuts, chestnuts, heartnuts, Monkey Puzzle, pinenuts and walnuts. We also stock a modest range of fruit trees and berries. Among our special interest lines are aronia, blueberries, elderberries, cranberries, lingonberries, and apple and pear varieties suitable for alcohol production.
Cobnuts are the cultivated form of the native hazel, but produce bigger and sweeter nuts, and more regular and reliable crops. Over the last few years we have been experimenting with different cultivation techniques, resulting in very high quality young trees. The reason for this is the emphasis on root development. We're now producing trees that have more extensive root development at 2 years than they did in previous years at 3 or even 4 years old, leading to much quicker tree development and earlier nut production. Our secret? Provide the trees with what they need!
The first trees produced under the new regime - which is fully organic from year 1 - reached saleable age this season (2019/20) and by next season all our cobnut trees will be produced this way
Over the next 2-6 years we will be introducing further refinements to the production process - including the implementaton of organic methods from year zero - which will lead to even stronger and healthier trees.
Heartnuts are a rather tasty cousin of the walnut, the flavour being midway between walnut and pecan. The nut is shaped like a heart, hence the name. The trees grow well in many parts of Ireland but leaf relatively early in the year and will not thrive in a frosty site. Heartnuts grow into big trees, with a mature tree producing more than 100kg of nuts.
Our trees are heat-grafted under contract, shipped to us immediately after the callusing process is completed, then grown on at the nursery in organic conditions in raised beds. Fruit and Nut is the only nursery in Ireland raising heartnuts and we pride ourselves on the high quality of our trees. Nut production can begin as early as year 4, though more typically it is year 7 or 8.
New lines 2020/21
For the full range of stock available in 2020/21, please refer to the current price list and order form: here
* smaller orders may be collected from our premises
** the criteria for the UK may change as a result of Brexit. Please contact us for further information
We also offer a consultancy service (primarily focused on tree crops) , undertake orchard establishment and maintenance work, and can advise on municipal or community nut and fruit tree planting projects. We can also provide technical assistance with applications for grant-aided projects. Site visits can be arranged upon request.
The nursery also runs one day horticultural workshops on nut growing and related topics.
The nursery began trading in 2008 and the website was launched the following year. From 2010 till 2018, Fruit and Nut was involved in the trialling of many different varieties of nuts and fruit at a site near Westport. The site was a particularly challenging one: vulnerable to flooding, quite exposed to westerly winds and also very prone to late spring frosts. However, these adversities provided great insights into how plants and micro-climates interact, and has given us the confidence to recommend the most appropriate varieties for any location in Ireland and for other countries that experience similar climatic conditions.
In 2019 the nursery moved to a new site in east Mayo. The move has coincided with the decision to focus more on nut trees, particularly the role of nut trees in long term food security. Over the next few years, it is hoped that training facilities will be developed at the nursery, aimed specifically at younger people who are already aware of the threat of runaway climate change and who want to learn useful skills.
To date, the nursery has provided technical assistance in the establishment of a number of commercial-scale cobnut orchards (nine of which involve 400+ trees) and one walnut orchard of approximately 200 trees. To the best of our knowledge these are the largest nut orchards ever to be planted in Ireland. Fruit and Nut is the only organisation in Ireland with technical expertise of nut orchard establishment.
The nursery is a not-for-profit enterprise fully committed to sustainable and ethical best practice. The nursery also supports fair wages, worker involvement in decision-making, and education within the workplace. Nursery policy is to minimise the use of non-renewable resources, particularly the use of non-biodegradable materials such a polythene. Both the carbon footprint and non-recycleable waste stream of the nursery are very small, perhaps only half the qualtity created by a typical European household. Ninety-nine percent of compostable material is recycled/reused on site. Approximately ninety-five percent of polythene and cling film arriving on the site in the form of packaging is reused.
"We're not so much a business as a steward of the piece of earth we use, a time traveller, passing from the era of oil into whatever comes next. Trees live a long time; there are nut trees alive in Ireland today that were planted three centuries ago. And quite likely, in 300 years time - ten generations - there will be trees still alive in Ireland that originated at this nursery. It feels a bit like looking into the wrong end of a telescope, but if you reach far enough, you can reach to the future.
We look at the global warming and the changing global climate. The melting of the Arctic sea ice and the Greenland icecap, the thawing of the permafrost and the frozen methane deposits under the East Siberian Sea: events that on a human timescale are permanent - non-reversible - and that will have climate ramifications far beyond the Arctic. The growing likelihood of ecological catastrophe.
The lack of serious debate is baffling. Yet amongst those who actually follow the science who now would bet against dangerous climate change? More than three-quarters of the food eaten in Ireland is imported and of those imports, the majority comes from regions that will be adversely affected by global warming. All current agricultural policies are heading in the direction of even greater dependency on imports. This is not just misguided but utterly insane. If food production doesn't become more localised, there won't be a food supply. Should we live in denial and waste another twenty years or start planning ahead now? There can only be one answer. " Andi Wilson (founder, Fruit and Nut, original statement October 2014, revised November 2019).
Please note we are not a garden centre. While we provide a collection facility for customers, we are unable to accommodate casual callers at any time. Collection by appointment only.
Advice, consultancy and other services offered
Studentships and internships
Food security and climate change
General information on fruit and nut species
Cider and perry production
Information for the intending cider apple grower
Information for the intending perry pear grower
Varieties: Fruit and berries