The seasonal tradition of roasting chestnuts is often seen as a nostalgic Christmas activity. While these delicious nuts are a good treat on their own, they are also delicious in both sweet and savory recipes. Owners of Gaunt’s Chestnuts (417-736-3810) Don and Vera Gayle Gaunt like to use chestnuts in everything from dessert truffles to soups for their ability to enhance the flavors of any dish they are added to.
The Gaunts planted their first chestnut trees in 1991 and now have 26 trees in their forest. They sell the chestnuts at the Farmers Market of the Ozarks located in Farmers Park once they start harvesting them in the fall. “They are very popular in winter because of the song about chestnuts being roasted on an open fire. Of course we don’t make an open fire at the farmers’ market because we thought the fire department wouldn’t appreciate it,” jokes Vera Gayle.
With every bag of chestnuts purchased, the Gaunts give buyers a brochure with recipes and instructions for cooking and caring for the nuts. They also hand out their phone number so they can continue to help teach others. “We like to teach people how to use them and it’s really interesting to see what people come up with on their own,” she says.
Over their many years of growing and selling chestnuts, the Gaunts have worked to educate and educate many others about chestnuts, from customers, to neighbors, to students, to grandchildren, to people who have recently moved to 417 country from other countries . The Gaunts shared their passion with others in the hope that they would also plant chestnut trees. While their grove is currently one of the oldest chestnut groves in Missouri, they hope that many other groves will flourish in 417 country to further share their passion.