Tasting the "bluer" berry

Cassandra Bernard
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Georgia and Max Bambauer of Cornwall try some haskap berries they picked during a field day in Cornwall, Prince Edward Island June 23.

About 50 people gathered at an open house event held on Linwood Road in Clyde River to pick the blue honey suckle berry, also known as HASKAP. They picked, tasted, and then enjoyed them over vanilla ice cream.

Island organization, Phytocultures, held this event as part of their annual Field Day. HASKAP is a term used in Asian markets for the berries.

Some said the new berry tasted like a mix between raspberries and blueberries, and others said they thought they tasted like plums.  Everybody has a different taste bud, so everybody has a different taste preference, said Marie Sullivan, a lab manager who works for Phytocultures.       

“We are absolutely amazed at the interest we’ve received from Eastern Canada. It is such a powerful punch of antioxidants for consumers,” she said while picking some berries to be tasted.

The berries get sweeter as they get riper. The berries are also extremely tolerant to cold climates and are native pollinators.

The organization is now evaluating production techniques in the Clyde River test plot and are acquiring new varieties and breeding new clones.

The size and shape of the berries can vary but determining the ripeness can be accomplished by gently squeezing the berries. The berries easily produce flowers and fruit early in the springtime.

Controlling the weeds around the bush is critical. The berries do not appear to be targeted by many insects, but birds are known to enjoy them just as much as people. The berries will likely grow in most regions of Canada and in the northern part of the United States. They excel in better quality soils. However, the plants need two different varieties in one garden in order to successfully pollinate the berries, just like apples.

The plants can grow anywhere from 1.5-2 meters tall and 1.5 meters wide. There are a number of ways to eat these berries such as freshly off the bush, in jams, juices, in wines, pastry fillings, or can be incorporated with ice cream or yogurt.

The plants are sold at some Sobeys and Superstore locations.

The Guardian



Organizations: Sobeys

Geographic location: Clyde River, Eastern Canada, Linwood Road United States

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