How high inflation in Turkey is causing a ripple effect in Oregon

Published: Sep. 27, 2022 at 4:34 PM PDT
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ST. PAUL, Ore. (KPTV) - High inflation in Turkey, is causing a big ripple effect all the way to Oregon. You’ll find the problem in the hazelnut farms of the Willamette Valley, where prices of the tasty nut are falling fast. That’s because Turkey produces about 70% of hazelnuts all over the world. And when prices fall there, they fall here too.

On Tuesday, 38,000 pounds of hazelnuts were poured into the first shipping truck of the year at Ernst Nursery & Farms. Oregon supplies almost all of the hazelnuts consumed in the U.S.

Bruce Ernst says, last year the Barcelona hazelnut stood at $0.92 a pound. But global conditions have sent prices and profits plummeting.

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“It’s bad timing this year with fuel prices way up, fertilizer prices, they’re normally 250 a ton, they’re closer to a $1,000 a ton. So we have a lot more entities than hazelnut so it’s just bad timing that the prices drop on top of it,” says Ernst.

Depending on the variety, hazelnuts now range from $0.47 -$0.53 a pound. But at Ernst Farms, it dropped to just $0.40.

“There were rumors two months ago that it was gonna be low but we weren’t prepared for it to be this low,” says Ernst.

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On top of the price drop, Ernst says the weather has caused them to fall 10 days behind schedule. That’s because the hazelnuts have been slow to drop from its branches, most likely due to the wet spring.

Ernst says last year, the field price was $0.70 a pound and slowly worked its way up to the low 90s. But doesn’t foresee that happening this time around. He believes it will take 2-3 years to shake out, making it tough for an Oregon hazelnut farmer to turn a profit this year.