Monday, May 30, 2011

Honeyberry Sites

In the spring of 2010 I received my first bare root honeyberry plants from a mail order catalogue. My search for cold hardy fruit led to a treasure hunt across international borders resulting in the discovery of the breeding program at University of Saskatchewan research station in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.

The success of our first shipment of honeyberries (haskap) in September of 2010 led to the formation of our company HoneyberryUSA, specializing in mail order sales of imported honeyberry and cold hardy dwarf sour cherry trees from Canada.

As our Northwoods Garden has now expanded into plant sales and a fruit orchard, we would like to refer you to the following websites for our honeyberry sales and news: - Webstore for ordering honeyberry, dwarf cherries, and other cold hardy fruit - News from the Honeyberry Farm - Tracking Haskap across the USA

See you there!

Year-old Tundra with unusually high number of blossoms

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Haskap/Honeyberry plants for sale

Due to the great reception of our Fall 2010 shipment and continued interest in Edible Blue Honeysuckles we have set up shop online where we take orders online year round for our shipments of
Canadian haskap!

For more information, Honeyberry Recipes, and to order online, we invite you to visit:

Also offering the University of Saskatchewan cold hardy Carmine Jewel Cherry and Crimson Passion Cherry for sale!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

The Haskap Have Landed!

After months of planning, it was very exciting this past week to receive a box of Berry Blue pollinizer plants in 2 1/4" pots and several boxes of Tundra and Borealis from Canada, in 2 1/2" pots. The picture below shows the best plants, with the Tundra on the left reaching 15" in height. The majority of the Canadian haskap were entering dormancy and lost most of their leaves during the trip, but a couple plants held on long enough to show me how lovely they can be! The Berry Blue Honeyberry were more consistent in size and not as close to dormancy. (See August 12, 2010 posting for an explanation of haskap/honeyberry plants).

Tundra from Canada, Berry Blue from Oregon

The Best, the Worst, and the Average Tundra haskap

Tundra and Borealis are closely related and virtually indistinguisable to the untrained eye, but once they bear fruit the Borealis will have larger berries.

I was delighted to hear of a couple of instances of honeyberries being grown in Minnesota. Here is a picture of a three year old Berry Blue, taken in late August of 2010 at Bergeson Nursery at Fertile, MN. The well developed shrub was already entering dormancy. Berry Blues grow up to 8 feet tall, while Tundra and Borealis peak at 6 feet.

Berry Blue, age 3 (crabapples in background!)

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Edible Blue Honeysuckle - Haskaps and Honeyberries

Haskap - Honeyberry - Zhimolost plants for sale!!!


Click on for more information. Orders/further questions can be directed to me at and we will ship upon request.  We would also love to hear from anyone who already has experience growing Edible Blue Honesuckles (EBH), known as Haskap in Japan & Canada, Honeyberry in the USA, and Zhimolost in Russia!

Berries on haskap bush in Japan (courtesy Haskap Central Sales)

How I discovered Haskap
Early this spring I (Bernis) ordered two honeyberry plants from a garden magazine - Blue Velvet and Blue Moon. The Blue Velvet grew about ten inches this summer and the supplier sent me a voucher to replace the Blue Moon which did not grow from the bare root stalk which they had sent. Talking with others from my area, out of ten bare roots from this supplier, half did well, the other half did not do so well.

Blue Velvet Honeyberry from bare root, planted in spring 2010
 10" growth first year, no blossoms
Later this spring while visiting my family in Saskatchewan I did a search on the internet for cold hardy fruit and discovered haskap - a variety of the same blue honeysuckle plant that I had found in the garden magazines.

Haskap, however, had been bred right there at the University of Saskatchewan, with great results. The Canadians are calling their varieties haskap, after the Japanese name, because their plants are meeting the high quality standards of the Japanese market.

Within days I had the opportunity to get personally aquainted with the purple berry plant. I was delighted to find them growing in a couple of friends' gardens and was able to sample this exotic fruit. My first impression was "tangy", but then the flavor turned "sweet" and the berry melted in my mouth.

Haskap berries in Japan (courtesy Haskap Central Sales)
I was fascinated by the potential of this new plant so looked into it some more and visited a propagation nursery just outside of Saskatoon. I saw how they grow clones of the mother plant by snipping less than an inch off the tip of new growth and nurturing them in some sort of growth stimulant until roots are formed. The young shoots are later placed in small containers of peat moss to continue growing. The plants I saw were about a foot tall, and consisted of one stalk. I am told that if you plant this at least 4" deep in the fall, multiple shoots will come up in the spring, greatly improving the future productivity of the plant.

I look forward to cultivating haskap and enjoying the many health and culinary benefits of this berry, as do the Chinese, Japanese & Russians! I found this posting at

Posted by Anutichek 4-5( on Thu, May 27, 10 at 0:16

I'm from Siberia living in Chicago now, and Honeyberries are very dear to my heart. after a long search I 've found out their name in English and very excited to plant them in my garden. Several people were asking about their taste, well from the first person experience they are wonderful. they are the first of the edible berries to ripen. in the place people grew their own food, berries so early in season are treasured. they do have bitterness in them, but it is not unpleasant, it actually adds the sophistication to their flavor. in my home country, people usually just eat them fresh while they last ( as they're believed to be full of vitamins)and freeze them whole for later. I would recommend everybody interested to give them a try. the bushes do have ornamental interest as well. Depending on the variety some have more silvery leaves, and others have larger fruits which look beautifully on the bush, but again form my experience, the best tasting fruits come from a regular green leaved variety with smaller fruits, which have more of that bitter taste compared to the larger sweeter honeyberries.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Knitting Intervention

Judi, who responded to me at
came to the rescue - or should I say "intervention"! My first post was set up to sell the machine, but Judi offered the encouragement and advice I needed to postpone such drastic action and get me through these first rough days!

She wrote: "I will tell you that when I first started it took a long time to 'learn' my machine & get comfortable with it - so the main thing I suggest in the beginning??? practice, practice & practice more!!!! It will seem like you're wasting a lot of time, but honestly, it is so crucial to learning that machine & what settings it prefers etc."

Here's the result after talking with Judi!

Oops  - did something go wrong? Guess I'll practise some more, Judi! :-)

October 2010 Update
I put the machine aside for many months and finally went at it again this fall. There is something compelling about this machine - and I decided that if I could learn how to pick up dropped stitches, I would attempt to make a real stocking. Sure enough, showed a method using a spare machine knitting needle that works for me, so now I had no excuse. And for some reason knitting on the cylinder was working exceptionally well. I must have stumbled across the right combination of yarn weight, tension, and needles that worked right, and 2.5 hours later, VOILA - my first sock!  

So this is my $100 sock - the price of my machine, not counting materials and labor! And my doubting husband was so pleased to see my success that he encouraged me to get back at it and make a second one, so now it's $100 for the pair! Who would pay $100 for a pair of socks? Well, maybe not $100, but wool/nylon socks are going for $30 on the internet (yes, my husband's ears really perked up when I told him that!) But besides being a novelty, what does a handmade sock give you? These pink ones are made out of inexpensive soft acrylic baby yarn, but they are so much warmer than cotton - what a "warm fuzzy feeling" they give my feet! I can only imagine what a good quality wool sock would feel like!

December 2010 Update
Yes! Wool Socks are Wonderful!

Miscellaneous Technical DetailsAmos (a neighboring cranker in his 80's) checked over my machine, adjusted the tension, gave me this handy heel tool, the yarn, and lots of encouragement to keep trying!

From Judi, "I keep a 3X5 notebook (which I always give away at crank-ins) along with a pencil (so you can erase & start over!!! ha ha ha) write down everything - settings, yarn used (and I even will cut a slip of the yarn & tape it to the page) and date everything. I have a notebook for everything I have done since I started in Aug 06 (and some before I actually got a 'wearable' sock)"

"Patience is a wonderful virtue to have in this hobby because you may end up doing something over & over & OVER but if you start with cheap inexpensive acrylic yarn, you can rip, rip and rip it out again & not mess up your good sock yarn. Most others willl say this advice is not good, but you can be your own judge of that - ripping good sock yarn over & over seems to me would weaken it; I used acrylic and still use it for scrap."

I did follow Judi's advice and started writing things down and it definitely enhances one's observation skills.

For my first practising sessions, I used the method from 1924 Gearhart manual where you manually "wrap" the needles by casting the yarn over the back of the needle for 2nd half of the heel. Later I found an easier method for No Wrap Heel. And since my ribber does not match my cylinder, I use the mocked hemmed top sock method. Next I want to try the no sew toe.

Judi told about the old "wind up your yarn on a TP tube" trick! I originally put the skein in the Lipton Tea contain, threading it through a small hole in the lid. Both methods worked alright for me.

Thicker needle for the 52 slot cylinder.

Thinner needles for the 72 slot cylinder. Top one came with the machine. Bottom one came from Amos. He gave me a tip on how to clean up rusty needles - shake them in a jar with water and sand for a long time. It worked!