A Tree Grows In Salem

“They’re the perfect food,” says David Bingham referring to the American chestnut.

From a story by Sayzie Koldys with photos by Glenn Hilliard in the 2016 Winter Edition of the Edible Nutmeg Magazine.

David Bingham makes a small X with his knife in each of the American chestnuts, then microwaves them until he hears five small pops signaling all have burst from their shells. It’s easier than roasting over an open fire, he says, and it allows him to enjoy the chestnuts every morning with his oatmeal. “They’re the perfect food,” he says, citing their taste and balance of protein, fat, and carbohydrates. Although they were historically common in the New England autumn diet, most of us have never tasted one. For those few still living who watched the chestnut trees from Georgia to Maine die by the billions, and for those who’ve contributed to or followed the century-long struggle to restore this former king of the forest, the nuts on Bingham’s oatmeal are a powerful symbol of hope.

Read more in the Winter 2016 edition of Edible Nutmeg