Raspberry season extended at Annapolis Valley, N.S., farms due to pilot project

Nova Scotians are able to enjoy raspberries grown in the Annapolis Valley longer than usual following a two-year pilot project. Vital Berry Farms in Sheffield Mills and Webster Farms in Cambridge are growing the berries on tall, caned plants in soil-less pots in large arched coverings known as tunnels.

It has resulted in the growing season being extended from three weeks to up to four months. Both farms are experiencing higher yields. Hector Jaldo, site manager for Vital Berry Farms, said they are seeing better quality, flavor, and size and an increased shelf life compared to the traditional crop growing in the ground. Retailers are pleased with the product as well. “They’re always really happy with the quality, the flavor,” he said. “We can’t keep up with the demand.” 

Talia Plaskett, protected crop specialist with Perennia, said two varieties (tulameen and kwanza) have been grown in Nova Scotia through the pilot project. “The berries have proven to be of an excellent size and quality,” she said.

Early harvests from this year saw berries with an average weight of eight grams per piece – nearly three times the size of traditional field crop berries, which are about three grams. “These draw quite a bit of attention at the store compared to traditional options,” Plaskett said.

Read the complete article at www.saltwire.com. 

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