The honeyberry: it’s tasty & doesn’t mind the cold

Introducing the honeyberry
Published: Jul. 6, 2022 at 6:21 AM EDT
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EVANS MILLS, New York (WWNY) - There’s a new berry in town and it’s like nothing most people have seen before.

“The honeyberry is a honeysuckle,” said Duane Smith, who owns Seaway Coldhardy Grapes. “It’s an edible, fruited honeysuckle, and they’re, of course, delicious.”

Smith has been specializing in cold-tolerant produce for years.

“Obviously the issue we deal with in northern New York is it’s cold,” he said, “so we need tactical advantage and that comes with the development of plants that will get through our brutal winters.”

With some effort and some science, he’s found the perfect plant that fits that bill. The honeyberry.

“This is a relatively recent crop in terms of breeding development, and it comes from an island in northern Japan, Hokkiado,” Smith said. “As you can see, it thrives in this area, it’s early maturing. It is really the first major kind of superfruit for this area.”

The honeyberry is sweet, tart, and rich in health benefits. It’s unfazed by frost, has dozens of varieties, and its red color inside is an effective natural dye.

“It’s great for people who have allergies to food dyes, for things like yogurt, dairy products like ice cream,” Smith said.

Smith and his family harvest enough berries to make 1,000 jars of jam each season and they have plans to quintuple production.

“I really believe this is a sustainable crop that is going to do extremely well in our area,” Smith said, “specifically for our region, it works.”

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