Processing Hazelnuts after the harvest. We currently use four machines, designed and built on the farm by Norm Erickson.
1.) The Husker is used to remove the husk from the nuts. The New Husker (The Baracuda ) used this season is exceptionally fast and efficient. Some nuts are more difficult to seperate from the husk. We call these the cling ons and by running the nuts through the husker a third time very few nuts have any husk at all.
2. The Aspirator is a vacum based gravity separator that removes husk material from the whole nuts. After separating the nuts from the husk material we move the nuts to the Sorter. The Aspirator also removes broken shell material from the whole nuts and kernels. Adjusting the air intake we are able select what goes into waste and what we keep.
3.) The Sorter is a set of long rollers that adjust for sizing the nuts and separating them into 9 size grades. This allows us to set the cracker to the specific size nut for more uniform cracking. The sorter can also be used to remove nuts from kernels that have a similar size and helps speed the final cleaning.
4.) The Cracker is set for the size nut and away it goes cracking 70% of the nuts on the first pass. We then go back to the aspirator to remove the whole nut kernels from the shell material. Then we tighten the cracker up a bit for the smaller nuts that did not crack. With the kernels and the 30% whole nuts we push these through the cracker and get a 95% return of kernels. These then go to the hand sorting to remove by hand unwanted kernels and any shell material or whole nuts.