SALMON ARM – A farmer in the Shuswap is convinced he’s on the vanguard of the next big thing for agriculture in the region.
Axel Hvidberg of High Mountain Farm is growing a relatively new variety of berry bush that loves cold Canadian winters, and in the spring, produces an early crop of healthy, good tasting berries.
The Haskap bush is a variety of wild blue honeysuckle created over years of cross-pollination research at the University of Saskatchewan.
“The berries have five times the anti-oxidants of blueberries. And they’re 100% natural. Since we put the plants in we’ve had no fertilizer, no pesticide and no herbicide anywhere near them and they’re thriving,” says Hvidberg.
He’s so excited about the potential of the Haskap berry, Hvidberg is adding a further 1000 plants to the 650 planted three years ago.
“It’s just an all-round wonderful plant. High yields, tough as nails and they just taste so good. I see this as a great growth sector for agricultural businesses.”
Some of this spring’s crop is going to the Okanagan Spirits distillery in Vernon to be made into Canada’s first Haskap liqueur.
Fresh at the farm they sell for about $15 a pound.