Scotland "perfect" for novel honeyberries, growers told

The Scottish Society for Crop Research and Bulrush Horticulture Soft Fruit Information Day and Winter Meeting, held last week at the James Hutton Institute (JHI) near Dundee, heard about the potential of the honeyberry as a crop suited to the Scottish climate.

Image: Karen Hine
Image: Karen Hine

The fruit of the blue-berried honeysuckle, Lonicera caerulea, the berries are said to taste like a cross between a raspberry and blueberry, and are already cultivated in Japan, eastern Russia and Canada.

LoveHoneyberry Solutions consultant Logie Cassells said: "We are pushing for more growers to plant them this year, as Scotland's climate is perfect for them. An aim of 5,000 acres over the next 10 years is ambitious but achievable. Honeyberry orchards can achieve revenues from £10,000 to £25,000 an acre [£4-10,000/ha], depending on your aims, passion and drive."

Stewart Arbuckle of Angus soft fruit firm P A Arbuckle & Sons, and planter of Scotland's first orchard of honeyberries, said the berry is very easy to grow and offers the added benefit of fruiting 10 to 14 days earlier than local strawberries.

JHI researchers are collaborating with P A Arbuckle to propagate honeyberry bushes, according to soft fruit breeder Rex Brennan, who added: "The blue-coloured fruit is of increasing interest due to its very desirable qualities, including very high levels of anthocyanin pigments."

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