Are Haskap Berries the Next Big Aroostook County Crop?
The hardy little berry resembles an oversize, oblong blueberry, and it tastes like a blueberry-raspberry hybrid.
By Will Grunewald
Aroostook County’s rolling fields are known for their potatoes. For fruits, not so much. But when Fort Kent Christmas-tree–farming brothers Ben and Joe Voisine and their dad, Gary, heard about a hardy berry that was catching on with Canadian consumers, they found a seedling supplier in Quebec and started out with 1,000 plants. Now, six years later, the Voisines have about 12,000 plants in the ground, which makes their Allagash View Farms the first Maine farm to go big on haskaps. A ripe haskap berry resembles an oversize, oblong blueberry, and it tastes like a blueberry-raspberry hybrid. The skin is delicate, the flesh juicy, and the antioxidant level high. Most of the Voisines’ harvest goes to Canada, where the berries are variously frozen, juiced, and jammed, but some stay here — the nearby First Mile Brewing Company pours a seasonal haskap-berry ale. Last year, the Voisines started hosting pick-your-own days, at which they also sell their own haskap jam. “I had no idea what these berries were until I learned about them through some tree farms in New Brunswick,” Ben says. “Once we saw what they could do, we were all in.”
The haskap-berry harvest usually starts in mid-July. Check Allagash View Farms’ website and Facebook page for information about pick-your-own days. 726 Strip Rd., Fort Kent. 800-604-0393.