My nuts are no good !
I've just started harvesting the billions of hazelnuts we have on our 6 noisetiers. On my way back from the orchard with a bucketful, I ran into one of our neighbours. She picked over the top layer of my hazels and pronounced virtually all of them pas bonne.
I asked her how I could tell which were good. Sometimes it's perfectly obvious - if they have a petit trou, then they've been weevilled and there won't be a useable nut inside. Mostly though I have no idea how she could tell. She was right every time we cracked one to see whether there was a nut inside or not, but the good shells look exactly like the bad ones. We discussed it a bit, but it seems she just knows and I will just have to learn by experience.
She tells me that it's been a bad year for hazels all over France. Her brother, who lives further north, has had the same problem, with many nuts being empty of kernels.
Apparently I must leave them to dry out for some weeks before tackling the task of cracking them. It's time consuming and surprisingly hard work, so if the resulting nut count is meagre it will be depressing.
A mixture of Williams and Beurre Hardy.
I've also picked almost all of the pears. It was that or lose them to a woodpecker (I think) who ruins them by pecking into and eating about a quarter of a pear, knocking them to the ground in the process. Every day for the past week or so I've found three or four pears in this state.