About Treeborn

From Seed to Tree to table

Our Story

Treeborn started as the brainchild of a group of people incredibly
passionate about chestnuts. Our roots grew from our chestnut orchards throughout Michigan. Our growers are our biggest asset and help along every step of the process from growing the trees to harvesting the fruits and creating delicious & unique products.  

Along with a fantastic partnership with Michigan State University and its chestnut research team, Treeborn sprouted from an idea into a small company back in 2015. We are excited bring new,
unusual and most of all delicious products to the world. We are always growing and looking for new, unusual and delicious "tree-born" fruits & nuts. In 2019 we started harvesting and pureeing Pawpaws – our nation’s largest and most forgotten native fruit. As we keeping growing our company and our love of all things tree related, we’re proud our of roots and excited to keep growing our all of branches!  

Family & Friends

Always Growing

When multiple generations of family & friends work together with common beliefs and principles - good things happen.

Who We Are

Growers, Researchers, Teachers, Commercial & Hobby Farmers, Engineers, Cooks, Bankers, US Servicemen, Artists, etc.

A group of friends and family who all love growing and eating the best things possible.

Our Founders

It all started with a beer. Treeborn owes its inception to the visionary minds of the late Dr. Dennis Fulbright (Michigan State University), Roger Blackwell, and Brian Polowniak. These three friends and accomplished individuals brought a wealth of expertise and diverse perspectives to the table, forming the dynamic foundation upon which Treeborn continues to grow upon. Dr. Dennis Fulbright, with his extensive academic legacy and groundbreaking research in all things chestnuts, continue to shape and influence Treeborn's endeavors. Roger Blackwell, a seasoned grower and business strategist, and Brian Polowniak, a visionary in business and product development, carry forward the torch of Dr. Fulbright's vision. Together, Dr. Fulbright, Roger and Brian are the roots of Treeborn, growing it towards new heights of success through a unique blend of knowledge, experience, passion and most of all - friendship.

Dr. Dennis Fulbright

California-born, Dennis was an adventurer who traded the sunny beaches for the snowy landscapes of Michigan. Dennis was Professor Emeritus at Michigan State University until his passing on November 26, 2019.

Moving to Michigan and joining MSU in 1979 in the midst of a snowstorm, he embarked on a lifelong journey with chestnut trees, chestnut blight, and the propagation and enjoyment of the delicious nuts they bear.

Dennis could see the need to
collaborate, and so he sought expertise from many professionals, researchers
from other universities, and even in different countries. He worked with
growers in Italy, Turkey, Australia, Lebanon, and China. Over the years he
mentored many young scientists, bringing them to MSU to learn from him. From all of this, he earned much respect and awards, but even more importantly, many friends.

Dennis was not your typical one-dimensional scientist; he dabbled in everything from wheat and tomatoes to oak, walnut, and Christmas trees. In his so-called retirement, he co-founded "Treeborn," a venture processing chestnuts for food, and "Chestnut Orchard Solutions," harvesting chestnuts each fall. A man who yearned to be outdoors,

Dennis enjoyed hiking, swimming, fishing, kayaking, tennis, cross-country skiing, and train travel. He especially enjoyed sharing stories with those and delicious chestnut beer.

Though we miss him greatly; his love of his family, friends and colleagues lives on today. Dennis' scientific legacy also lives on, benefiting future
generations of both growers and the trees they’re growing. His children and grandchildren are his true legacy, as they will carry forth his commitment and integrity in many fields. Cheers Dennis!

Roger Blackwell

Jon needs Roger to provide him a biography so he can get it posted on the website right here. If you see Roger, please tell him to get it to him.

Brian Polwoniak

Jon needs Brian to provide him a biography & photo so he can get it posted on the website right here

Jon Nash

Jon's journey in the horticultural industry began practically at birth, as he is the sixth generation of the esteemed Nash family, renowned as the founders of Nash Nurseries in Owosso, MI. Raised amidst the flourishing fields of horticulture, Jon's childhood was saturated in the love and appreciation for all things plant-related. His parents, Bill and Jan Nash, instilled in him a deep-rooted passion for the industry, taking him to fruit and nut conventions worldwide, where he glimpsed the vast potential for unique business opportunities right here in Michigan.

After enrolling at Michigan State University to pursue studies in landscaping and horticulture, Jon's immersion in the field deepened. Working alongside Dr. Fulbright in his plant pathology lab, Jon's focus expanded, particularly towards the fascinating realm of chestnuts. It was during this time that Dr. Fulbright invited Jon to join a groundbreaking project called Treeborn, setting the stage for Jon's journey into the world of harvesting and processing fruit & nut crops.

While attending Michigan State, Jon met his best friend, now wife, Abby. Together, they now revel in watching their children, the seventh generation of Nash's, grow up in the enchanting world of horticulture.

An active participant in numerous plant, fruit, and nut organizations across the United States, Jon enthusiastically shares his passion for cultivating and enjoying nature's most exquisite and delectable offerings. Through his expertise, Jon has guided countless clients across Michigan on their journey of discovering the joy of plant care and cultivation. He has lent his skills to various orchard design projects, as well as residential and commercial landscaping endeavors throughout the US.

With a firm commitment to expanding the family legacy and sharing his wealth of knowledge, Jon eagerly anticipates spearheading the growth of the chestnut and pawpaw industries not only within Michigan but also across the entirety of North America. His dedication to nurturing both the land and the community underscores his vision for a flourishing and sustainable future.


Maria's journey to Treeborn is rooted in a deep love for family and a drive for excellence coming from a career in the Detroit auto industry. Growing up in a warm household where culinary delights were a way of life, Maria inherited her family's dedication to hard work and their hard-working industrial spirit. Her family, originally from Lebanon, instilled in her the values of resilience and determination, having run a family restaurant and tended to an olive farm back home.

Bringing these cherished values with her, Maria embarked on a career marked by dedication and success. Starting in the automotive industry, she immersed herself in the world of sales and marketing, specializing in proprietary plastics. With time, her expertise expanded into diverse fields such as medical devices, innovative plant growth technologies, and advanced 3D metallurgy technology.

Maria's professional journey mirrors her upbringing, characterized by a tireless pursuit of excellence and a commitment to family values. With over four decades of experience, she has honed her skills as a strategic leader, consistently driving growth and innovation. Her ability to unite internal and external resources has been instrumental in launching new technologies and raising capital funds.

Now, Maria is embarking on a new chapter with Treeborn Products, along with her husband Brian, where she will utilize her expertise to advance branding and product development. With her trademark blend of passion and professionalism, she aims to elevate the company's presence in the market and drive meaningful growth.

In her spare time, Maria enjoys spending quality moments with her loved ones, cherishing the simple pleasures of gatherings with family & friends and the delights of sharing a deliciously memorable meal with loved ones - an ode to her heritage. Her journey is a testament to the power of love, dedication, hard work, and her enduring belief that respect isn’t given, it’s earned.

Our Partners

Chestnut Growers, Inc.

Michigan's chestnut industry CO-OP. CGI sells fresh chestnuts when in season, throughout the United States. They sell chestnuts through the website and also offer wholesale. Look for fresh CGI chestnuts at your local markets & produce stands. Treeborn chestnut growers also belong to CGI.

Visit CGI

Nash Nurseries

Located in Owosso, MI, Nash Nurseries grows thousands of plants - including chestnuts, pawpaws, and hazelnuts. They specialze in consultation and ornamentals. The Nash family are original members of Team Treeborn and have been helping us grow since day one!

Visit Nash Nurseries

MSU Agriculture

Michigan State University plays an incredibly important role in the research, community outreach, and promotion of diverse crops throughout Michigan & beyond. Curious about starting your own orchard? Check out the MSU Extension CANR page for more info!


Our retail store - located @ Nash Nurseries

4975 W. Grand River Rd. Owosso, MI 48867

Mon-Saturday: 9am-5pm
Sunday - Closed

Open: April - December

Get directions