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Saskatchewan berry tested in B.C.

January 31, 2018

The Daily Courier, Kelowna, Central Okanagan, BC, Canada

West Kelowna company FloraMaxx Technologies is researching which varieties of haskap berry, above, grow best in different areas around B.C.


Haskaps are relatively unknown in B.C., but a West Kelowna company is researching the new berry’s ability to grow in different areas around the province.

In partnership with the University of Saskatchewan, West Kelowna’s FloraMaxx Technologies conducted a study, funded by the federal and provincial governments, which involved distributing haskap plants to four places in the province to determine which environments allow the berries to grow best.

“The problem was in B.C. there were no field trials to see which varieties of haskap will perform better in a given location,” said Ashish Dave, research scientist with FloraMaxx.

Before this project, most of the research had been done in Saskatchewan, where the berry was developed, primarily in temperatures around -40 C, he said.

“We are trying to develop the industry in B.C., especially the Okanagan, where the people are not getting enough revenue in apples and cherries,” said Dave. “People are looking for diversification in food crops so they can get better revenue.”

FloraMaxx Produces Haskap 'Super Berries' Plant Tissue Micropropagation

July 01, 2017

"Orchard & Vine Magazine"

FloraMaxx Technologies Ltd. in West Kelowna is one of the few companies in the Okanagan using micropropagation technology to produce a range of trees, lilacs and berries that grow well in the valley. It is haskap berries – often described as a “super food” for their exceptionally high cancer fighting antioxidants – that have become the laboratory’s focus, however. The taste of haskaps has been described as “a blend of grapes, raspberries and blueberries with a zingy finish.” The haskap berry is developed for commercial cultivation by the University of Saskatchewan under its Fruit Breeding Program. The berry thrives in cold climates and grows well in many parts of Canada. No wonder it is on its way to becoming a multi-million dollar industry.

Peace Christian School takes part in University of Saskatchewan study in partnership with FloraMaxx to evaluate the Haskap berry's potential to become a cash crop in the region

October 16, 2016

"Dawson Creek Mirror"

Because of its contract with the University of Saskatchewan, FloraMaxx is producing several varieties of Haskap that aren’t yet available on the market. It’s these plants — 320 advanced varieties in total — that the school will grow on site while recording data for the university. 

There are three other grow sites in the study, two in Kelowna and one in Salmon Arm.

Parents of students at the school, including Shankel himself, have also volunteered to come on board and try a test patch of Haskap on their property. This offers more controls and comparisons for the research with the university's fruit breeding program.

“The entire school is committed to using this project to reach the curriculum goals where they can,” Shankel said. “There’s math, biology, scientific applications… all that stuff is here for them to learn from. But worst case scenario if this is a catastrophic failure, my kids have still had the opportunity to do real research with a major Canadian university.”

Dr. Ashish Dave at FloraMaxx said he was excited to have a grower in the area. 

“Nobody has done a study of which varieties do well in which parts of the varied climate of B.C.,” Dave said. 

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