Oregon State University researchers are working to develop hazelnut trees that are resistant to Eastern filbert blight, which nearly collapsed the industry a few years ago. 99% of U.S. hazelnuts come from the Willamette Valley.
While farmers struggled to keep trees alive, researchers struggled to find a solution that would save the industry: a blight-resistant hazelnut. Shawn Mehlenbacher, professor of horticulture at Oregon State University, has been working on developing the resistant hazelnuts for more than 25 years.
Creating special breeds is a long process. It takes eight years to grow a hazelnut generation, and each new variety must go through several generational crosses before it's ready for testing.
Read more at NPR.