NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. — Connoisseurs of Nutella, the popular cocoa and hazelnut spread, have had their reasons for despair: there is a global hazelnut shortage. Fortunately, Rutgers researchers have developed a hazelnut tree that’s resistant to a fungus called Eastern Filbert Blight, allowing the tree to thrive in the relatively cooler climes of New Jersey and the Northeast.
The development, reflecting two decades of research, will expand the regions where hazelnuts can be commercially cultivated. Tom Molnar CC’00, GSNB’06, a plant biologist who oversees the hazelnut tree breeding program, one of only two in the nation, for the New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station, will be distributing the trees to New Jersey farmers to test their viability this year.
— Rutgers University