Haskap (Blue Honeysuckle - Lonicera caerulea L.)
Haskap (Blue Honeysuckle)
Also known as Blue Honeysuckle or Lonicera caerulea L., the haskap plant produces a delicious fruit that can be hard to describe. Many people describe it as a mix between raspberry and blueberry, but in our opinion it is completely unique.
The haskap berry is quickly becoming recognized as the latest super food. Its antioxidant and other health benefits are well known in places like Japan, where the berry is considered a delicacy, and scientific study is confirming the benefits of haskap. A 2008 article in the Journal of agricultural and food chemistry, for example, highlights the role haskaps can play in preventing chronic conditions like cancer and diabetes.
Because they produce fruit early in the growing season and because of their exceptional winter hardiness, Haskaps make an excellent choice for orchard owners and small scale growers alike. Haskaps can survive winter temperatures as low as -45°C and their flowers can be exposed to -7°C temperatures with no damage to the fruit.
Haskap Plantlets in the Greenhouse
Haskaps are well suited to mechanical harvesting and generally produce fruit by mid-June. Commercial growers can capture more fresh market customers as a result, and home growers can enjoy a longer season of delicious fruit, pies and jams.
Haskaps are suitable for both spring and late summer/autumn planting. For the best results, plant your haskaps one to two inches deeper than the soil level of the container in which they are shipped.
Suggested Row Spacing
- Commercial growers should allow five metres (16 feet) between rows, and one metre (three feet) between each plant in a row.
- U-pick operations should allow 2.5 to three metres (eight to 10 feet) between rows and 1.5 to two metres (4.5 to six feet) between each plant in a row.
Sweet. 2.17 g
Suitable for mechanical or hand picked.
Aurora has a fruit that is larger and sweeter tasting than previously released varieties. The fully grown shrub can exceed two meters in height, and may provide full production before other varieties; an important trait for those who are eager to taste this extraordinary berry.
Aurora is fully hardy to Zone 2 and the flowers can withstand -7 C without damage. Imagine fresh fruit by the middle of June!
Sweet/tangy. 1.49 g
Mechanical harvest .
Tundra’s fruit is firm and does not bleed from the stem end when removed from the plant, making this variety suitable for mechanical harvest and Individual Quick Frozen (IQF) processing. It possesses the desired fruit shape and size to appeal to the Japanese market and rated high in the flavour testing.
Sweet/tart. 1.62 g
Hand picked/small orchards.
Borealis is noted for yielding very large fruit with excellent flavor. Its fruit has a softer, more delicate fruit than Tundra, so it may not be suitable for IQF. Borealis is an ideal option for U-Pick operations or for the home gardener.
Sweet/tangy. 1.29 g
Mechanical or hand picked.
The Indigo Yum variety is another good option for mechanical harvesting. The berries are of similar flavor to Tundra, but slightly tangier. This variety can be planted with Tundra and harvested at the same time.
Sweet/tart. 1.30 g
Indigo Gem produces fruit which is slightly chewier than other varieties. This unusual trait can be an advantage for some processing applications. Indigo Gem displayed a high yield at the time of selection in the field.
Tangy/tart. 1.90 g
The Honey Bee cultivar is meant to be used for pollination of the other U of S cultivars under most circumstances, especially when mechanically harvested. Honey Bee can be useful as a companion crop alongside Borealis in a handpicking operation. This is due to its tendency to hold onto the stem about 40 per cent of the time when harvested. This trait may encourage growers to use of their final product for juice, wine, or jelly rather than for an IQF product. Read More ->
This variety blooms at the same time as other Haskap varieties and has given good fruit in controlled trials. It grows quickly and delivers good yields. Mature height is expected to be approximately two feet taller than other U of S Haskap varities, but the width of the plant remains similar, thus requiring similar spacing.
Honey Bee holds onto its fruit longer than most Russian varieties. This is useful in combating losses from pesky birds, like cedar waxwings, which tend to knock off more fruit than they eat wasting the produce. This trait may also make the variety more effective when used in guard rows to help keep birds out of the preferred main varieties.
Sweet flavour. 2.80 g
Boreal Blizzard is set to be the next big thing in Haskap production with many calling it a “game changer”. This new variety will offer several advantages over previously released varieties, including: Read More ->
- With flowering set to occur one to two weeks later than other Haskap varietys, it will extend the picking season into late June and even early July
- The fruit has an average size of 2.8 g with some being up to 3.9 g
- Sugar is higher with preliminary results at the University of Saskatchewan showing a 13.3 Brix
- Flavour has been rated as excellent
- Plants are fast growing and strong
- Superior mildew resistance
- Heavy productivity
Dr. Bob Bors and his team are recommending Tundra, Indigo Gem and Boreal Beauty as pollinators. Many growers will complement early and late producing Haskap varieties to maximize yield and extend the season.
Sweet flavour. 2.60 g
Selected to complement Boreal Blizzard, this variety is changing the way people think about Haskap, and hopefully it will help bring this extraordinary species into mainstream fruit consumption. Here are few characteristics of Boreal Beauty: Read More ->
- Flowering occurs one month after previously named varieties; extending picking season into mid- to late-July
- The fruit has an average size of 2.6 g with some as large as 3.7 g
- Berries are thicker and more compact than Boreal Blizzard
- Flavour is rated as excellent
- Plant is fast growing and has the strongest branches
- Heavy productivity
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