Blue honeysuckle, which is also known as haskap, has a tangy flavour that’s a cross between a blueberry, blackberry and a raspberry, claims CPM’s commercial director Begnat Robichaud.
The berry, which is only in season for four weeks in June, has 60% of the recommended daily intake of vitamin C per handful, has three times more iron than a blueberry and twice that of a strawberry, Robichaud adds.
Haskap is already being grown in Poland, while UK growers will be ready to harvest a crop in June next year.
The fruit is celebrated as the ‘elixir of life’ in Japan, where it was originally grown. “This is a really exciting development for the berry industry in the UK; firstly for the berries' health qualities and secondly, it looks and tastes different to the current offer,” Robichaud claims.
The berry grows well in the UK climate, as it needs cold winters and rainy spring weather, he adds.
Work is also being carried out to extend the period which they can be harvested, says Haskap grower Sandy Booth from New Forest Fruits in Hampshire.
Head of plant sciences at the University of Saskatchewan Bob Bors explains: “In our research, released earlier this year, over 15,000 blue honeysuckle seedlings were field evaluated, with the best intensively evaluated in lab tests.”