Adam Calder, Produce Manager

Wheatsfield Cooperative recently got in a shipment of a new kind of berry we have never sold before. This new fruit is known scientifically as Lonicera caeruleal, or more commonly as the honeyberry, blue-berried honeysuckle, or the haskap berry.

The word haskap is an old word from the Ainu people who live in Northern Japan, and it means “berry of long life and good vision.”

This fruit is a deep, dark purple-blue color not unlike a blueberry. The shape is less round and more oval than a blueberry, and the flesh is soft and squishy. Each berry contains about 20 seeds that are similar in size and texture to tomato seeds. The seeds are edible and not noticeable when chewing honeyberries. The flavor has been described as a combination of the flavors of blueberries, blackberries and strawberries. The consensus among the staff here is that the berries have a tart initial taste, followed by a sweet, fresh, mellow finish.

Even though this fruit looks very similar to blueberries, it is more closely related to snowberries and elderberries as a member of the Dipsacales Order of plant classification.

Honeyberries are nutritious, with a 2/3 cup serving containing 2% zinc, 4% iron and calcium, 5% carbohydrates, 6% copper, 6% potassium, 8% magnesium, 12% fiber, 15% vitamin A and 60% of the daily value of vitamin C.

Honeyberries can be used in the same way as more traditional berries, and are used to make jams, jellies, syrups, desserts, or eaten as fresh berries.

These berries are grown by Dean and Judy Henry at The Berry Patch in Nevada, IA. Judy called and was quite excited to share this interesting new treat with the cooperative. In fact, she said she wanted to “get them into the hands of the man who would know how to sell them.”

I’m excited Judy is giving me the first opportunity to introduce these to the Wheatsfield community, and I am humbled by her endorsement of my produce retailing talents. Thank you, Judy and Dean, for all of your hard work and commitment to growing top-quality Iowa fruit!