Also known as honey-berry (Lonicera caerulea), this interesting fruit from a bush in the honeysuckle family. Not much cultural information about Haskap is available. It is being grown in the Midwest and Northwest U.S. and Midwest provinces of Canada. Haskap has high antioxidant content and might be marketable as an unusual high-value crop. Like many blueberry varieties, they are harvested in late spring/early summer.
Much of the most recent research has been at the University of Saskatchewan, were a funded breeding program has developed several new varieties. Other breeding research has been done in Oregon with Dr. Maxine Thompson, the creator of the four varieties being trialed at WyeREC. Over the next few years we will look at tolerance to Mid- Atlantic climate and disease and insect pressure.
At least two varieties must be grown together for successful pollination. When choosing varieties to plant, they must have both similar flowering times and compatible pollen, so that cross pollination can occur. In 2017, warm early-spring temperatures initiated an early bloom in early-April. In 2018, the cool spring extended bloom time to late April. All varieties at WyeREC bloomed at the same time. In 2019 and 2020 bloom times were around mid-April. The fruit is ripe my the third week of May. The flavor is tart with little sweetness, not unlike wild plums.
After 4 growing seasons, the four Haskap varieties have not grown well or produced much fruit (less than an ounce per plant). The varieties of Haskaps at WyeREC do not seem well adapted to Maryland's Eastern Shore climate. If interested in growing Haskap, get information from your plant source about appropriate varieties for your area.