It was an exciting second year at the Cassidy Group Farm's Haskap Berry field!
In our first year, we harvested between 4 and 6 rows entirely by hand. This year, we were focused on ensuring we had a farm that was clean, natural and smart. With over 33 rows that are each 1000 feet long filled with Haskap Berries, we decided to invest in a mechanical harvester. Take a look at the video below to see our harvester in action! This allowed us to harvest over 950 pounds of healthy, delicious Haskap Berries grown right here on Prince Edward Island!
What's Growing on the Cassidy Group Farm?
Half of the field is made up of new plants that are in their first year of growth, and the other half has two year old plants. Did you know you get more fruit from a mature plant, than a new one?
We grow three varieties of Haskap Berries. One is called the Tundra, which has a thin skin that melts in your mouth. They are shaped like a bell, and have a tangy, sweet flavour and are so juicy! The second variety is called an Indigo Gem. These Hasps are more oval shaped, with a thicker flesh. The have a sweet, plum-like flavour, and are amazing for baking. Our third berry type growing on the farm called a Chez #17. We use this berry as a cross-pollination variety. These are planted in every fifth row on the farm. Did you know plants require pollination to produce fruit?
If you want to read more about Haskap Berry health benefits, or get some great recipe ideas, visit our Haskap Berry page here!
Speaking of Pollination..
Did you know we bring in bees each year? Bees are an important part of the eco system on our farm. In Spring time when the Haskap Berries start to flower, we transport bee hives to the field to help with pollination. The bees we use are the same bees that are used at VanKampen's to pollinate their tomato plants! It is important to us to have the most natural approach possible for growing our Haskap Berries.
Harvesting Haskap Berries
Our mechanical harvester allowed us to drasticallyy reduce our picking time this year. We could do an entire row in nearly 20 minutes. We technically do two harvests, as we do a first and second pass on each row. The mechanical harvester works by vibrating and shaking the plant - all the fruit that is ripe will easily fall off and be collected. Any Haskap Berry that is not ripe remains on the plant, and we are able to harvest those during our second pass just a few weeks later.
Just because our harvests complete for 2020 doesn't mean the work on the farm ends! Stay tuned to learn more about the irrigation system we are installing to help us make 2021 an even better harvest of Haskap Berries.