A Survey on Haskap Growing
During our busy growing season, we conducted an online survey to learn what people know about haskap, a relatively new “super fruit,” so that we can use the information to help grow the industry. The majority of those surveyed reside in British Columbia (BC), Canada, and the few remaining in other Canadian provinces.
Most had small acreages (Figure 1). Approximately 80% of them grow small fruits as one of their crops and all indicated that they were interested in growing haskap, and wanted to know more about the crop.
The haskap industry is fairly young in BC and there is little literature for local growers regarding planting/cultivating methods and variety selection. Much of the published information on haskap has been reported from the Canadian prairies. While this information can be used as an introduction to the plants, in order for haskap industry to flourish, more research needs to be conducted, and accessible guides/manuals need to be published.
According to our survey results, winter hardiness was the main driver for deciding which plants and varieties people were willing to try as a new crop. Winters in BC can bring very cold temperatures and lots of snow, thus planting a crop that will survive these harsh conditions is imperative. 13% of those that took our survey have winters that reach temperatures between -20oC and -40oC (Figure 2). Not many fruit crops are able to withstand such conditions and still produce a viable product to sell, especially with a short growing season.
Haskap is a spring fruit, one of the first fruits to ripen. The benefit of this trait is that it does not need a long growing season for the development of its crop, meaning that even in locations with a short growing period, the grower can produce a full harvest. It is also very hardy, and can survive temperatures down to -47 o C and their flowers down to -7 o C, making it an ideal plant for more frigid regions. Another benefit of being an early crop is that the grower is able to gain revenue in the beginning of the season, when other crops need more time. For example, a grower can have a spring harvest of haskap, while their cherries are maturing.
Different varieties of haskap have either an early-or late-ripening trait (see our blog “Branching Out: Planting Haskap as Your Next Fruit Crop”) so within the spring season, you can have a longer harvest if both types are planted. 60% of those surveyed said they would be interested in planting both types (Figure 3). The benefit of having just one type, is if a grower has another harvest that might overlap with the haskap harvest, they have some flexibility as to choosing varieties where the overlap is minimized or even avoided completely. Thus, planting haskap is a good way of diversifying your production and gaining revenue during lull periods between other crops.
If you are interested in growing haskap, we encourage you to explore our website and blogs, and contact us for more information. We are dedicated to growing the haskap industry and will continue to increase the literature pool so that you can grow your business.