Boreal Beast Haskap- Zone 2
Characteristics of the tree
Haskaps, until recently relatively unknown, have been gaining in popularity in recent years. This is largely thanks to the stellar work of breeders in Saskatchewan to develop good-tasting and productive cultivars. Haskaps are hardy to zone 2a, easy to grow, and amazingly nutritious.
Boreal Beast is among the highest rated of existing haskap cultivars in terms of flavor, delightfully aromatic with notes of honey. It is also vigorous and disease-resistant with very good productivity. Its late flowering period makes it the perfect cultivar to pollinate Boreal Beauty, and it gives fruit within only 2 years of planting.
Boreal Beast is a medium-sized haskap berry, weighing about 1.9 g on average: heavier than the majority of currently existing cultivars, though not as large as Boreal Beauty. It is a narrow oval in shape, sometimes slightly flattened at the ends so it looks almost rectangular.
The berry is soft and juicy, and is remarkable in terms of flavor. It is delicious and aromatic, with flavors of honey, blueberry and raspberry, and a perfect balance of sweetness and acidity.
It was our favorite among the berries we tasted, and it was also consistently rated as among the very best-tasting of the haskap cultivars, at the breeding program where it was developed.
The Boreal Beast haskap berry matures around early or mid-July, depending on your region, and tends to hang on the bush for a while, even when ripe. The fruit is perfect to eat as it is, fresh or frozen, but would also make fantastic jams and baked goods – anywhere you can use a blueberry, you can put haskaps to good use.
Boreal Beast has strong vigor, an upright growth habit and good productivity. It also displays excellent resistance to mildew, and like most haskaps is extremely hardy; up to zone 2a.
It is important to note that haskaps are self-sterile, and need to be paired with a cultivar that blooms at the same time, in order to set fruit.
Boreal Beast has a late flowering period, beginning just before Boreal Beauty (around mid-May) and its flowering period ends at about the same time. Therefore, as their name suggests, Beauty and Beast are perfect partners!
Boreal Beauty, like its partner Boreal Beauty, was developed by the University of Saskatchewan Fruit Program, where research into breeding new, hardy and productive Haskap cultivars has been ongoing since the early 2000s.
It is principally the work of Bob Bors, together with Rick Sawatzky, passionate and dedicated fruit growers and breeders, who we have to thank for the development of many new sour cherry cultivars currently on the market, as well as several new and exciting haskaps.
The work involved to develop these new haskap cultivars included traveling to Japan, Poland and across Canada, as well as collecting seeds from many other sources, particularly Russia.
Boreal Beast was selected in 2016 and introduced to the public in 2018, resulting from the cross between ‘Best 2’ and ‘46-55’. Its lineage is 50% Japanese, 25% Russian, and 25% Kurile.
Haskap berries are noteworthy not just for their hardiness and good taste, but for being an exceptionally nutritious fruit. Their level of antioxidants is among the highest of any fruit or berry, about 50% more than that of blueberries.
They are comparable to oranges in terms of Vitamin C content. They rival the banana for potassium, and also contain high levels of other minerals including calcium and magnesium.
Haskaps are medium-sized shrubs that grow in a rounded form, to a maximum of about 2.5 meters in height.
They are very easy to grow: no suckering, no pruning needed for the first few years, tolerant to a range of soil conditions, and easy to harvest with no thorns.
Optimal spacing is 1.3 meters between plants. To make a hedge, plant them 1 meter apart.
This haskap variety is subject to a propagation license, meaning that only licensed nurseries may propagate these cultivars. We have applied for a license, but have so far not been able to gain the necessary rights.
However, since these are generally agreed to be the best cultivars available, we really want to make them available for you. Therefore, as a rare exception to our general rule of only selling what we grow from scratch ourselves, we are working with a local licensed supplier who propagates them in vitro (which ensures they are virus free).
We then grow them 18 months in our field and make sure they are doing well, before we sell them to you.
Our haskaps are sold bare-root, without pots. They have been cultivated directly in the soil, and are taken out of the ground to be shipped to you during their period of dormancy. Bare-root trees do not take up much space, and can be therefore shipped by mail all over Canada!
This photo shows a 2 to 3 feet tall Haskap plant, similar to one you would receive. Depending on the height that you select when you order, it could be smaller.
Several Haskap cultivars have been developed by Bob Bors et Rick Sawatzky at the University of Saskatchewan, where research into breeding new, hardy and productive Haskap cultivars has been ongoing since the early 2000s.
This research led to tremendous improvement in the quality of the Haskap berry, compared to what we could get before. We tasted these four cultivars and selected the two best in our opinion: Boreal Beauty and Boreal Beast.