April 13, 2020 – HEALTHY HASKAP – ITS ALL ABOUT THE SKIN
This photograph reminded me of the uniqueness of haskap. Each haskap fruit is actually composed of two to four smaller “berries” wrapped in a larger “shell”. Normally, this unusual anatomy goes unnoticed, but an unfused ovary provides the opportunity to peer inside the developing fruit. The large surface area (skin) of a single haskap berry is immediately obvious. This blue layer is filled with wonderful phytochemicals including anthocyanin, a powerful anti-oxidant.
March 1, 2020 – MY TAKE ON HASKAP CULTIVARS
The fruit industry is no different than other sectors of agriculture in terms of pursuing the latest and best genetics. Riverbend Orchards is a licensed propagator of the haskap cultivars from the University of Saskatchewan. We have tested every haskap released from Dr. Bor’s program and also closely followed the findings of other growers worldwide. Riverbend’s plantings of haskap have focused on cultivar ‘Aurora’ with suitable pollinizers. We like this cultivar for its upright habit that is very suitable for mechanical harvesting. The graph below (provided by U of SK) also shows that ‘Aurora’ holds its own when comparing fruit yield with the newer ‘Boreal Blizzard’.
October 12, 2019 – THE AFTERMATH OF AN UNEXPECTED STORM
Winter decided to come early in Manitoba this year. Heavy snow and strong winds arrived on October 11. Although many of the fruit plants (see sour cherries below) were bent down under the wet snow, the greatest damage occurred on shade trees in the yard including a prized Norway Maple that was split in two.
September 9, 2019 – NEW HASKAP PLANTING
Today we completed another haskap planting at our farm: 670 Aurora and 200 Honey Bee were installed in an area that had been in saskatoon production two months before. With the help of a Schulte mower and a subsoil mulcher, the area was quickly transformed for planting.
March 30, 2019 – GARDENING SATURDAY PRESENTATION
Today we had the opportunity to talk about backyard orchards with two groups of avid gardeners at Gardening Saturday in Winnipeg. A copy of the Powerpoint presentation can be viewed or downloaded at this link: The prairie orchard
March 14, 2019 – NATIONAL PI(E) DAY
How fitting that on National Pi Day we began another exciting, edible adventure at Riverbend Orchards. In conjunction with the good folks at Harvest Pie Company, we are happy to bring back our famous saskatoon pies. Each frozen 8″ pie is filled with naturally sweet, ‘Smoky’ saskatoon berries grown at our farm in the summer of 2018. Bake at 400 F for 45 minutes for a piece of prairie paradise! Available as singles ($10) or in cases of 12 for $100.
December 4, 2018 – THE POWER OF PURPLE FRUITS
We came across a very interesting article on CBC News regarding the power of anthocyanins to heal our bodies. Riverbend Orchards has an excellent selection of fruits with high anthocyanins including: saskatoon berry, honeyberry (haskap), tart cherry, chokeberry (aronia) and cherry plum. We need to work with local research groups to better characterize these prairie fruits and get the message out to local consumers that prairie fruit not only tastes good, but has the potential to fight disease.
October 31, 2018 – YOUNG PLANT INVENTORY FINISHED
We have finished our counts of 1 year-old rooted cuttings and 2 year-old containers of haskap. This year our available stock is mostly made of two outstanding cultivars from the University of Saskatchewan: ‘Aurora’ and ‘Boreal Blizzard’. These new selections represent the best haskap genetics available at the present time with refinements to fruit yield, fruit size and plant habit.
October 23, 2018 – NEW HIGHWAY SIGN MARKS 10 YEARS IN BUSINESS
Today we erected our new double-sided farm sign on the west side of highway #240. Featuring our new logo, this sign was printed by Pro-Image in Portage la Prairie. It replaces the sign we had put up in the same location back in 2009, our first year in business.
August 16, 2018 – HOLLYWOOD COMES TO RIVERBEND ORCHARDS
Today Riverbend Orchards became Seaton Orchards, the set of a Hallmark movie titled “Love, Of Course”. Starring Kelly Rutherford, Cameron Mathison, Mackenzie Vega, and Gabby Douglas, the film includes three scenes shot at our farm. We were amazed to stand back and watch the “army” of people required for a movie shoot.
September 6, 2017 – FRESH-PRESSED APPLE CIDER
Today we hauled 2500 lbs of surplus apples to Burwalde Juice in Winkler for pressing. The process of wringing juice out of apples is quick and efficient with a modern day apple press. We took home 180 2 litre bottles of organic, fresh-pressed apple cider. Thanks to Marcus and his folks. We’ll be back!
July 31, 2017 – SOLAR POWER FOR RIVERBEND ORCHARDS
Construction began on our solar generating system today. We have an ideal site along the northern edge of the farm that provides shelter from the north and unobstructed sunlight to the south. Thank you to Shayne Hutchins and his team who came all the way from southern Ontario to install this beauty. Jake Waldner from JAW Electric of Portage la Prairie handled all of the grid hookup including trenching.
July 3, 2017 – A BIG BOOST TO OUR HASKAP PRODUCTION
Today was planting day for 2 acres of haskap plants at Riverbend Orchards. We used ‘Aurora’ as the main cultivar with ‘Tundra’ as the pollinizer (3:1 ratio). The plants were 2 years old, growing in 1 gal containers. Thank you to Henry Dyck who was a huge help getting these plants in the ground.