Kentish Cobnuts

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Lambert’s Filbert Cobnuts are cultivated hazelnuts, of which the Kentish Cobnut (Corylus maxima) is the most popular variety. It has an excellent flavour, with large ovoid to oblong nuts and is a reliable cropper. Cobnuts are sold fresh rather than dried. Despite its common name, the Kentish Cobnut is, to be correct, a Filbert. Whilst both names are now used for cultivated hazelnuts, a filbert has a longer husk, which completely encloses the nut. The cultivation of hazelnuts in Britain dates back to at least the 16th century. Filberts were known in Kent by the mid 17th century, when three of four varieties were grown. In 1913 there were about 3000ha of cultivated hazelnuts being grown in orchards or “plats” as they are known, in Kent. Currently only 80-100ha of these trees remain with the Sevenoaks to Maidstone district of west Kent being the main area of production. Although cobnuts are cultivated in several other counties within the UK, the ragstone rock of the Sevenoaks area produces a free-draining fertile soil with a neutral pH that seems to be particularly favourable for hazelnut production. The Lambert’s Filbert, the origin of which is uncertain but is thought to have been introduced in about 1830, displaced the previously grown varieties and by the 20th century was commonly known as the Kentish Cobnut. The Kentish Cobnuts Association was formed in 1990 with the aim of regenerating the industry, promoting cobnuts and representing its members.

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