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Super Wal-nut

Young tree in Dry Run area produces mega-sized nuts, amazing longtime harvesters

Young tree in Dry Run area produces mega-sized nuts, amazing longtime harvesters

October 06, 2006|by ARNOLD S. PLATOU

DRY RUN - When Bertha Faith's husband planted another walnut tree out near their home a few years ago, she didn't pay much attention or even remember to look to see if it'd produced any fruit.

That changed suddenly some weeks ago when Ken Faith brought in the bounty: "It was just unreal! I've never seen any as big as these," Bertha Faith said Wednesday.

Indeed, she said, with the hull on, at least one of the nuts is "as big as a baseball!"

The English Walnuts - only about 15 this year - grew on a tree they got from the local Soil Conservation District four or five years ago. It's planted near their home, which is off Md. 75 at the Maryland-Pennsylvania line near Clear Spring.

The Faiths have lived there since 1965, when they got married.

Bertha Faith has long had an appreciation for tree nuts.

Her mother, Annie McLucas, 88, of Welsh Run, Pa., - "just over the line" - has harvested and broken open Black Walnuts and English Walnuts for many years.

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"She's cracked out unreal numbers of walnuts over the years," Bertha said.

But the two women, who have sold the nut meat at various area stores, had not seen any the size of the new tree's nuts.

"My mother has a nutcracker and it would not even fit around some of these," Bertha said.

They are such an oddity, she said, that she's been showing them around and "that's the reason someone said, 'You need to take those to the newspaper!' " Bertha recalled.

So, not wanting her own picture in the paper, she bundled up her grandchildren and brought them and some of the nuts in to show a photographer.

Grandchildren Naomi and Joshua are the children of Ronald and Sarah Faith, of Hagerstown, and grandchildren Keyana and Karyssa are the daughters of Katrina Faith, of Clear Spring.

At Bertha's home, the walnuts are put to good use - in the walnut fudge and walnut cakes she makes.

"Yes, I'm quite a baker. ...In fact, my mother will tell you, I'm baking all the time. I make cookies several times a week."

But for awhile this year anyway, the talk around Bertha's kitchen will probably more center on the size of that new tree's walnuts.

Even without the hulls, they are big, she said.

"They're much bigger than a silver dollar, a couple of them's really big," she said. "It's very unusual. I've never seen them this big!"

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