In 1987, Dr. Richard Martin, an Ear-Nose and Throat physician in Cape Girardeau, MO, desired to purchase land for investment and pleasure. Dr. Martin had a love for trees, but the land he was inquiring about had very few trees and was mostly rich cropland and pasture. He decided to purchase the 172 acres of farmland west of Cape Girardeau in southeast Missouri and began at that time to plant the trees he had desired. Over the past 25 years, Dr. Martin has planted tens of thousands of trees using many different groups, such as Teen Challenge International, local church youth groups, civic organizations, and he and his family have spent many hours working to accomplish the task. After acquiring 65 more acres in 1992 and 51 more in 2006, he now has 288 acres thriving with many different species of trees.

Dr. Martin’s passion has always been for black walnut trees; in 1988 he began planting his first walnut grove. Through gathering information about obtaining quality seed, he was able to contact Archie Sparks, the founder and president of the National Walnut Council. Mr. Sparks had been successful in developing a high quality cultivar walnut seed. Many of his cultivars, the Sparks 127, the Sparks 129, and the Sparks 147, rank as some of the best in many areas of quality seed measurement standards such as average yield, percent kernel, average nutmeat weight, et cetera. Dr. Martin desired to grow quality trees for both seed and lumber production. Using the seeds purchased from Mr. Sparks over the next 3-4 years, thousands of high quality walnut trees were planted and continue to grow.

In 2003, the first grove of these quality trees matured enough to start producing, and they have been producing high quality seeds and nutmeat ever since. Many of the trees have also been tracked in greater detail since 2003, keeping records of seed production, seed quality, as well as germination records from many of the seeds planted. There are close to 3000 trees in the first walnut grove. This grove consists of 57 rows of walnut trees planted from the Sparks high quality cultivar seeds.

With the quality of walnut trees and the recent tracking information, the University of Missouri Agroforestry Department from Columbia, MO, has also shown interest and has visited the Martin Tree Farm on several occasions. Dr. Mark V. Coggeshall, the Research Associate for the Center for Agroforestry at the University of Missouri, has taken nut samples and has run analysis from many of the tracked trees, and they have shown excellent results. In both 2006 and 2011, The Martin Tree Farm hosted tree enthusiasts from all across Missouri at its Spring Walnut Council. These tours included discussions and seminars with several University of Missouri Agroforestry experts and seed geneticists who pointed out the quality of trees and seed production from trees on the Martin Tree Farm.

We are now at the point where we are able to offer our quality seeds and nutmeat for sale. We are offering seeds from the trees that have been tracked for the past several years and have shown good productivity as well as a high quality seed. We also have seeds available from hundreds of other trees that are from the same quality seeds, but do not have the detailed tracking history. Please take time to inquire how you might purchase these high quality seeds. Purchase, plant, and enjoy the pleasure and profit that come from excellent seeds! Check out our list of other available First Fruits Black Walnuts products, which include the black walnut nutmeat and ground black walnut shells as well.

Call Mike at 573-450-6701 for pricing and availability.