|In the past, because our trees produced a dependable crop every year, human mountain families would gather our nuts by the bushel. Street vendors roasted and sold some of us delicious nuts as early as the mid 1800s and well beyond that time. Besides tasting good, we're also good for you, since we're high in Vitamin B1, B2, C and rich in starch and oils.
Our largest trees produced 10 bushels of chestnuts or more. Reports of American chestnuts layered 4 inches deep on the forest floor were not uncommon. Over the winter, the nuts were eaten raw, boiled or roasted. Wagons hauled our nuts to cities and towns. In 1911, in West Virginia, one railroad station alone shipped 155,000 pounds of our nuts.
Once the blight destroyed the American chestnut, the Oriental and European chestnuts were imported to satisfy hungry humans.
(mouse-over for a close-up).