Jerry Davis: Wisconsin’s long-haired hickory tree is a little-known gem | Outside

Mike Starshak, of Green Lake County, founder of Wisconsin Hickory


JERRY DAVIS, For the State Journal

JERRY DAVIS For the State Journal

There are people who partially use the Wisconsin long-haired hickory tree. Much less, however, pick a few nuts but know very little about hickory syrup, the ton of charcoal it takes to match a cord of hickory wood, or walking on hickory floors and using hard tool handles. and solid.

Mike Starshak of Green Lake County wanted to change that, and he did, by helping to start the Wisconsin Hickory Association.

But don’t mention the pecan pie made with hickory nut halves.

“It’s called hickory nut pie, not pecan pie, if hickory nuts are used. Hickory nuts and pecans are very close relatives, ”he said,“ but nuts taste different. “

The most recent concentrated users of hickory were Native Americans, settlers and rural farm families.

“We are losing the last piece of these traditions of using hickory for smoking meat, making beautiful furniture, and understanding the pole (nut) cycle in these trees,” Starshak said.

Two hickory trees are native to Wisconsin – the shagbark and the yellowbud (bitternut) – while the shell bark hickory touches the far south of Wisconsin in one or two places.

Native Americans propagated hickory trees, according to Starshak. Look at where the 200 to 300-year-old trees are, he said, along the roads of these peoples, landings on rivers, camping areas and areas of origin. Some of these areas are several hundred kilometers apart.

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