Research Center Offers Pride of Dakota Businesses Variety - KMOT.COM - Minot, ND - News, Weather, Sports

Research Center Offers Pride of Dakota Businesses Variety

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When most people think of fruits grown in North Dakota, they think of apples and choke cherries. But the Northern Hardy Fruit Evaluation Project introduces growers, processors and consumers to unfamiliar yet healthy and delicious fruits which are easily grown in the state.

Since 2006, the Carrington Research Center has studied fruit-bearing plants.

"In the beginning, we just selected plants that were hardy for North Dakota, things that would not take a lot of upkeep. We want them to be hardy and not have a lot of insect problems. And then, we also looked at plants that were healthy," says Fruit Project Manager Kathy Wiederholt. 

The research center has 14 varieties of fruit-bearing plants. The honey berry is one of them.

"I consider them to be the potato chip of the fruit world. They have enough sweetness and enough tartness that you just want to keep eating them to get a little more sweetness. So, I love them fresh, but jam is fabulous, juice is fabulous and wine is fabulous. I really can't say enough about them," says Wiederholt.

The birds agree. Wiederholt says it's important to keep them netted, or the birds could get away with your yield. With honey berries, it's important to have two varieties for cross-pollination.

The bushes should be fully productive in four to five years, and can produce three pounds of berries per plant. The black currant is another berry that grows well in North Dakota.

"I think it's just so delicious. Some people will say a day without currants is like a day without sunshine, because they don't have that vitamin C, they don't have that peppy flavor. Currants are my favorite fruit of all the fruits we have here," says Wiederholt.

The berries contain three to five times as much vitamin C per pound as oranges. When fully matured, the plant can produce four to five pounds of berries per year.

The fruit grown at the Carrington Research Center is only made available to Pride of Dakota companies. But, Wiederholt says there are few people throughout the state who use the berries to make wine, jams and jellies.


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