Grow the new antioxidant wonder berry
Although you may never have heard of the Haskap Berry, you no doubt will, as it is being touted as the latest and greatest anti-oxidant berry on the market. Fairly new to Canada, the Haskap Berry plants that are being sold here all originate from the University of Saskatchewan Fruit Program, which has been “carefully breeding and selecting cold hardy plants for superior fruit quality and yield for over 90 years.”
Originally from Russia and Japan, and also know as Blue Honeysuckle, the Haskap Berry is very easy to grow and gives impressive results.
Tasting like a tart cross between a blueberry and a raspberry, with a thicker skin, the Haskap Berry can be used in much the same way as you would use blueberries. They are great in savoury dishes, desserts and in jams, etc. Besides being very high in antioxidants, the berries are rich in vitamin A, vitamin C, and fibre. (Expect to see them popping up in health food stores everywhere as more farms start to mass produce them in Canada.) Haskap berries have long been known as a promoter of health and longevity in Japan, and their versatility has made them popular fast over here in Canada.
“Haskap berries are very easy to grow,” says Cathy Oulton, owner of Bloom Garden Center, a family business in Hammonds Plains that stocks several varieties of these plants.
“All you need is a nice, well-drained area that gets plenty of sunshine. They need pretty much the same conditions as blueberries.” The bushes reach between four and six feet tall, depending on the variety you choose (right now there are five varieties available: Borealis, Indigo Gem, Indigo Treat, Indigo Yum, and Tundra).
These berries also give a high yield, are extremely hardy, and there are varieties that will give fruit very early (they can flower a month before the first frost and the flowers are hardy enough to withstand temperatures of -7c), and some that will fruit very late, too. Oulton advises planting two different varieties to aid pollination and give the biggest yields.
If you plant these berries in your garden now, you’ll be ahead of what is likely to be a very popular trend, and when you treat your friends to a jar of Haskap Berry jam or a slice of pie, you’ll certainly raise a few eyebrows. If you’re a fan of the special and unique, then you’ll want to find space for a few Haskap Berry bushes in your garden.