Vesey's borealis haskap - Siberian berry

Vesey’s Nursery sends me email updates. This is my own fault. I subscribed. And I don’t unsubscribe, because I love the luscious photos of berries and tomatoes they include. But it is temptation, big temptation, to get on the phone to Prince Edward Island and say, “Yes, send ten of those.”

I do want fruit trees, and berries, but I had best take it slow. Strawberries? Next year (for marketing the year after.) Apple trees? Maybe later, after we figure out where everything else needs to go, especially sheep. Sheep and young apple trees do not go well together. Sheep, like their cousins the deer, will nibble the twigs, strip the bark, munch the leaves. They don’t do much damage to old trees if the branches are high enough, but they can chew a baby tree down to a stump.

Vesey’s is offering these haskap berries, bred in Saskatachewan from Siberian stock. They are a bit like a highbush blueberry, only a lot hardier in our fickle subarctic climate. I haven’t tasted any, but they are described as a cross between blueberries and raspberries. I hope to find some in a farmer’s market to give them a try before considering a purchase of three bushes. (AND not this year!)

This year, we would transplant raspberry canes somewhere on the periphery (which grow like weeds – they have to be tended to keep them from taking over into a huge thicket); put in elder trees, which are better mannered; find a few lowbush blueberries, native to this area and place them at the edge of the lawn; and we are contemplating a hazelnut hedge. Hazelnuts were the staple carbohydrate of our Celtic and Briton ancestors. They ate them by the ton, leaving huge middens of shell. They are native to New Brunswick, and those who have the secret knowledge of a hazelnut brake and can beat the squirrels to the nuts have a much coveted prize here.

It is tempting to buy more than needed; I may have done that, but we will see. Between our own pantry and farmer’s market sales, I think we will have just enough. It may be more work than we anticipated, but at least it will be good work.

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