Andrew Rosychuk believes he’s sown the beginnings of a new, massive fruit industry.

On Rosy Farms, 26 acres located north of Alcomdale in Sturgeon County, Rosychuk is growing haskaps. They’re inch-long berries, dark blue in colour, that grow naturally in Russia, Japan and Canada.

The University of Saskatchewan has released seven varieties of the hardy fruit, which are capable of overwintering in -50 C.

“I’d say they’re a superfruit. Three times the antioxidants as a blueberry, five times the anti-inflammatories as a blueberry,” Rosychuk says, adding that there’s a lot of room for improving haskap cultivars.

“As well, the flavour’s really, really intense. It tastes like three-quarters blueberry, one quarter raspberry, some blackberry, elderberry tang.”

Rosychuk, 32, was sharing his story as an agricultural entrepreneur during last Saturday’s Eco-Living Fair at Red Deer College.

Farming skipped a generation in his family. Rosychuk’s father worked as the chief financial officer for the City of Edmonton. A self-proclaimed city slicker, Rosychuk moved to attend Olds College, graduating in 2005 with a diploma in production horticulture.

2018 03 25 haskapsDark blue and inch long, haskaps are berries that grow naturally in Russia, Japan and Canada. (Photo courtesy Rosy Farms)

He experimented with planting cherries, currants and haskaps and jokes that the deer loved the cherries, the bugs loved the currants but he fell in love with the haskaps.

Rosychuk spent the last decade competing in triathlons and still works in the trades for Suncor.

In 2014, he finally purchased about 80 acres of land for his orchard, with his first harvest expected in 2019.

His goal is to market wholesale and start a product line. But for that to happen, he needs to produce more volume.

“If you think of POM Wonderful pomegranate juice, they have 16,000 acres to create that one product,” Rosychuk says. “You need to have volume behind you. I’ve seen people who tried to make their own haskap product and failed.”

This summer, he’s setting up at farmers markets in St. Albert and Edmonton during the first three weeks of July.

It will be the first time he’s sold his fruit -- he says so far, haskaps have only cost him money while he finds a way to market his crop. But Rosychuk has shown that he’s a patient man.

“High-bush blueberries in B.C. is 29,000 acres. I think we could get in the same realm as blueberries. But it’s going to take time. I’m still thinking 10 years until we get haskaps as a household name.”

More Ag News

Second PED Case Confirmed

Alberta Pork has reported a second confirmed case of the porcine epidemic diarrhea (PED) virus in Alberta. This disease which causes diarrhea and vomiting in pigs was confirmed for the first time in…

Lacombe County promoting sustainable agriculture through ALUS program

From Lacombe County: The ALUS Lacombe County program—which promotes sustainable agriculture through the delivery of an Alternative Land Use Services program—is looking for its next group of…

Canadian Animal Transportation Regulations Updated

On Wednesday, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) published amendments to the Health of Animals Regulations on animal transportation. The overall objective is that animals arrive at their…

Considerations When Shopping For Your Next Bull

Beef producers are looking for their new herd sires this time of year. Beef Cattle Research Council (BCRC) Research and Innovation Coordinator, Stacey Domolewski, says there's no one type of bull…

Canadian Government Invests In Animal Welfare

On Tuesday, Agriculture and Agri-Food Minister Lawrence MacAulay announced an investment of up to $4.56 million to the Canadian Animal Health Coalition. The investment was made on behalf of the…

Corteva Agriscience Acquires Clearfield Canola In Canada And U.S.

Corteva Agriscience, Agriculture Division of DowDuPont, announced that it has acquired the Clearfield Canola Production System in Canada and the United States from BASF. Clearfield canola is a…

Cattle Nutrition Top Of Mind For Producers This Time Of Year

Local farmers gathered at Cattlemen's Corner in Nanton on Tuesday, February 19 for a Cattle Nutrition Talk. Ridley Block Operations Director of Research and Nutrition Services, Mark Robbins, spoke at…

Fourth Generation Rancher Runs For NDP In Livingstone-Macleod

The NDP has their candidate for the Livingstone-Macleod Riding, and it's not the usual candidate they normally run here. M.D. of Ranchland Reeve Cam Gardner has tossed his hat into the ring for the…

Reframing The Conversation Around Antibiotics

Farmers need to reframe the conversation on the use of antibiotics in animal agriculture. That from Dr. Leah Dorman with Phibro Animal Health. "I think it's important because there is a lot of…

UCP Plans To Repeal Bill 6 If Elected

Over the weekend, United Conservative Party Leader Jason Kenney said if elected they'll repeal Bill 6. The farm safety legislation enacted in 2016 under the NDP government would end with the UCP's…

CochraneNow.com is Cochrane's only source for community news and information such as weather and classifieds.

Search the Biz Guide

Login