If you are lucky, you may find this little but might berry at your farmers market. However, chances are, that you may have to travel out of your way to either the Sorauren Monday Market in Toronto or the Waterdown Saturday Market to get a taste of these rare berries.
So far I have only found one person that grows and sells them in the GTA and Hamilton area. Her name is Pat Kozowyk (Baba Link Farms) and she is the only farmer I know that grows the berry variety known as The Haskap.
The Haskap berry, also known as “Honeyberry” or the “Blue Honeysuckle berry,” is a new berry crop for Ontario, according to The Ontario Haskap Association.
Haskap is the Japanese name for Lonicera caerulea (blue Honeysuckle). According to Eagle Hill Foods, it is a circumpolar species, native to northern boreal forests in Asia, Europe, and North America and is mainly found in low lying wet areas or high in mountains.
From afar, you might confuse this berry for a funny looking, stretched out blueberry. So make sure you get a closer look at this berry before walking away. While it may look similar to a blueberry, this berry has distinct flavour and texture.
Pat explains that the harvest season for this berry is really short, usually about a week and a half to two weeks. It’s because they must be picked when they are fully ripe to optimize its flavour and nutritional value.
The berry itself is very soft and squishy in which its sweet-tart blueberry-raspberry flavour explodes in your mouth as you take a bite. If you love berries, you will be sure to love haskaps . Plus you will definitely love its health benefits. Haskaps are actually packed with more antioxidants than blueberries! Something that I found very shocking!
In fact, “Haskap” is an ancient Japanese name of the Ainu people for the fruit meaning “berry of long life and good vision.” In the chart below you can compare the antioxidant properties of different berries and see that Haskaps’ levels are the highest.
Hopefully I’ve peaked your interest in this berry and now you want to get your own taste of them! The season this year may last a little longer than usual but that still only leaves you about 2 weeks to get your fill!
You can find Pat at the Sorauren Market on Mondays and at the Waterdown Market on Saturday. This woman is a wealth of knowledge and she will be very happy to hear about your interest in learning more about this berry!
If you want to find out more information about Haskaps visit: http://www.ontariohaskap.ca/
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