Melcher Family of Ken & June’s Hazelnuts
Nothing compares to the nutty, subtle sweetness of a hazelnut unwinding smooth and buttery on your tongue. The soft crunch releases the full depth of its flavor, earthy and decadent, and ultimately intoxicating – a distinctive zest that stands out even among robust flavors.
This unique quality is the reason there are so many recipes with hazelnuts. They’re a popular addition to baked desserts, but they have great potential to elevate savory dishes as well. And In winter, when cravings lean toward richer flavors, hazelnuts take center stage in traditional holiday dishes and desserts.
Oregonians have a special connection to hazelnuts that goes beyond holiday tradition. A simple drive through the winding roads of the countryside reveals a thriving community of hazelnut growers, with a harvest that is second to none in quality. Oregon’s mild climate and rich soil are uniquely suited for producing hazelnuts with a flavor and texture widely regarded as the best in the world!
As an Oregon company, we proudly support our local hazelnut farmers by stocking their incredible nuts and products on our shelves. Look for locally grown and roasted hazelnuts in our bulk section or prepackaged throughout the store. Browse the bakery and kitchen and you are sure to notice hazelnuts in some of our gourmet food items as well. And pick up a batch of our special hazelnut brownies from the Market Bakery this holiday season!
In the meantime, here’s a highlight of a couple of the many amazing Oregon growers who work hard to keep the proud tradition of hazelnut farming alive and prosperous.
Ken & June’s
The Melcher family has been growing hazelnuts for more than 50 years. The tradition was started by Ken and June Melcher in 1957 when they began farming on their 40 acres of land in St. Paul, Oregon. At the time, it was one of the largest hazelnut orchards in the Willamette Valley. Ken’s sudden passing in the fall of 1984 heralded the second generation of the Melcher family legacy with his son, Dennis, taking over operations. Dennis, along with his wife, Sylvia, expanded the business to include roasting and packaging. They named their product after the original farmers, Ken and June.
From humble roots, Ken & June’s is now a well-known brand among Oregon’s internationally acclaimed hazelnut community. With the farm now entering its third generation of growers, Ken & June’s offers premium, prepackaged hazelnuts in roasted and salted, chocolate-covered, and candy-coated varieties. You can find these classic flavors along with their latest creation, marionberry candy-coated hazelnuts, at all Market of Choice locations.
Barb and Fritz, along with their three children, purchased their 60-acre orchard in the Willamette Valley in 1998, relocating from Eastern Washington. Hazelnut farming seemed like a natural fit for the family who has always lived close to the land. With the support of extended family members who are experienced farmers, Freddy Guys continues to harvest quality hazelnuts using earth-friendly farming practices. Each harvest is hand-picked in small lots to avoid warehouse storage. Their nuts are shelled to order and roasted in small batches with no other ingredients added during the process. The family admits the whole process is a lot of hard work, but results are the freshest, most evenly toasted hazelnuts possible.
Freddy Guys roasts, packages and sells their hazelnuts themselves, eliminating the middle man to provide fresh, flavorful nuts to consumers at lower prices. You can find Freddy Guys hazelnuts at your local Market of Choice.