Thursday, July 14, 2011

Haskap Day 1 Highlights - U of SK Field Lab

This year Haskap Day at the University of Saskatchewan began with registration, a brief overview of the day's activities, and then heading to the field for touring the various research plots, a mechanical harvesting demonstration, and background and tasting of newly acquired and potential varieties. We returned in time for lunch and then listened to several presentations in the afternoon covering: research, planting an orchard, and Haskap Canada.

Here's the university's new Joanna-3 harvester that was fired up for us and about to get to work on a row of haskap...

Formalities aside, Haskap Day at the Field Lab is a great chance to meet propagators, producers, marketers, and developers. In addition to the words spoken in the field, the afternoon always provides a wealth of insight. Some of them from this year included:

- pay attention in the future to the roles of polyphenols for marketing perhaps all aspects of the plant: quercetin, cyanadin, luteolin

- that 23 days is required from flowering to fruit turning blue

- that the first and longest phase of fruit production (cell division) involves linear fruit growth and high respiration, and that in the second phase (cell expansion) respiration drops and anthocyanins are metabolized

- that anthocyanins are easily degraded with heat (e.g. boiling)

- that perhaps watering is best correlated with berry ripening?

- that perhaps diurnal differences in temperature, UV intensity, and daylight length are correlated with increased antioxidants?

- whether the red leaves in some varieties are an indication of berry anthocyanin content?

- that berry formation is directly related to available sunlight...and pruning practices might need to reflect this

-that since light is used to set next year's berry crop, it may be important to prune plants after harvest rather than waiting until next spring?

- that roughly an average of 80,000 haskap have been planted over each of the past several years.

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