Native to Russia and Japan, this exciting new berry—its cultivars were developed at the University of Saskatchewan—is a member of the Lonicera family. Haskap comes from a honeysuckle shrub that sets edible fruit. Also known as Honeyberry, Blue Honeysuckle or Jumula, this berry is high in antioxidants and tastes a bit like a sour blueberry. This is a very young industry, so finding the fruit in shops might not be as easy as ordering up a sapling to plant in your own garden. And, since it’s hardy to Zone 2, it’s a good choice for northern gardeners. Currently the bulk of berries produced go into the production of health foods and supplements, jams and juices.
6. Canadian hazelnuts
Also known as filberts, a few brave folks have started planting orchards of hazlenut trees. Torrie Warner of Warners Farm in Beamsville, Ont. comes from a family of hazlenut growers: “My father planted three hazelnuts some 35 years ago,” he says. “I planted a small grove two years ago.” While the older varieties are susceptible to Eastern filbert blight, which kills the wood, thus reducing productivity, the newer varieties are much more resistant with larger nuts and a better fill within the nut—meaning more meat. According to Warner, the taste is the same, only because the hazelnuts are local, they taste super fresh. Because Canadian hazelnut growing is just getting going, speciality and farmers’ markets and visits to farmers will be the best places to scout.
Feel like having a go at growing tree nuts? Visit Grimo Nut Nursery in Niagara-on-the-Lake and if you’re out West, Slow Food Vancouver offers a bike tour through a West Coast hazelnut grove.