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Could the Polish Haskap overtake the blueberry?Anna Litwin from Blue Haskap is on a mission to let consumers know that the fresh berries that they might have tried a few years ago, are nothing like the new and sweeter varieties which are now being grown in Poland.
The Haskap, aka edible Blue Honeysuckle, is successfully grown not only in north-eastern Russia, China, Japan and Canada but also in such European countries as Great Britain, the Netherlands, Slovenia, Croatia and Poland. The plant is not demanding when it comes to cultivation; it’s resistant to disease, so it doesn’t need many interventions with chemicals. As a result, it’s easy to grow it as ecological plant.
"My parents started growing the Haskap back in 2012, as a crop with a lot of potential in an oversaturated Polish apple market. Two factors helped make the decision: one was the fact that it economically made sense, but they also became convinced when they learned about all of the health benefits. They started with Polish haskap varieties which could only really be used for processing, but this year we are expanding our production area to 2.5 hectares which much sweeter and tastier varieties from Canada like Aurora, Indigo Gem and Honeybee." shared Anna.
Blue Haskap is planting the 2 to 3 year old bushes so that small quantities of the berries for fresh consumption will start producing small quantities as soon as next year. However, the company works together with partners who already have 4-5 year old plants of the Canadian varieties, therefore they are able to supply around 20-30 tons of berries to the market this year.
Overall, the recent weather in mid-April and early-May did cause the season to start one week later than usual, but it hasn't affected the quality or caused any damage or losses to the berries.
"One of the most important characteristic of this plant is its resistance to frost. While the flowers of other plants (strawberries, cherries, apples, etc) have been almost completely frozen during the beginning of May weather breakdown, the haskap berries had no damage. They flowers can withstand even -11°C."
Harvest is expected to begin around 20 June, with all of the berries being harvested within 2 weeks. There is a very short window of availability because if harvested too late, the berries become very soft and will start falling off the branches.
"There is global demand for the Haskap berry. We are selling our berries to domestic processors, but we also have customers from the Netherlands, Belgium and the UK, who are interested in fresh fruits for the supermarket’s shelves. Some customers from Canada and Japan want to buy frozen berries as well. We are very optimistic about the future and make sure that haskap berries will be just as popular as blueberries in the near future,” concludes Anna.
For more information:
Tel: +48 513-648-686
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