Knowing Your Neighbors: Honeyberry Picking

WRENSHALL, Minn. – It’s honeyberry season for Farm Lola, a farm that started with chickens and implemented a honeyberry orchard back in 2016. They became the first one’s to do it in the U.S. after the idea sparked from a visit to Canada.

“The honeyberry or haskap is native to Northern Russia and Northern Japan so fortunately for us our climates are very similar to that and so these bushes do really well. They survive our cold winters. Of the fruiting bushes and plants in our northern latitude, this is the first one to bear fruit,” Farm Hand, Brett Amundson says.

Picking started on July 3rd and the season runs for roughly four to five weeks.

“We really pride ourselves on being an experience, we want families, we want individuals, we want people to come out and just spend part of their day with us. Out on the fields, there are certainly birds to hear besides the mechanical birds that we’ve got going on right now, but there are opportunities to try all of these flavors to find this new food for a lot of people and it’s just fun to get out and pick with your family and friends to have that social time,” Amundson says.

The farm consists of 14 acres and hosts 15 different varieties, each with their own distinct flavor.

“We invite people to come out and just sample and they often times will say it tastes like a wild blueberry or a wild grape or even a juneberry or a gooseberry. But, if mix the flavors together some people say well it tastes like an apple blueberry pie or tastes like something my grandma used to make,” Amundson says. “Often we like to say that a honeyberry is like if a wild blueberry and a sweet tart got together, that would be the flavor of a honeyberry.”

Honeyberries are good for jams, preserves, ice cream toppings, smoothies, pies, and more.

“It’s fun to hear the stories and some people bring us samples, we love samples whether it’s a cheesecake or a mead or it’s some ice-cream and so we just love hearing the stories and for us to, because this plant is native to northern Russia, we get a lot of Russian speakers, a lot of Russian people who are state side that come and talk about their childhood as kids when they used to run and pick these berries or maybe they had some planted around their house,” Amundson says.

Farm Lola hopes to keep the season rolling till August 1st.

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