WE’RE ‘BERRY’ EXCITED
Haskap berries will be the next big thing, if you ask James and Audrey Potts. The couple, whose farm sits at the intersection of Frankford Road and Highway 62 in Quinte West, started growing this lesser-known berry a few years back. Things at Palliser Downs began with strawberries in 2005, but it’s been these oblong blue gems that are taking over their hearts (and orchards, since 2011).
NEW TO HASKAPS?
To say that the haskap (photographed here by James) is like a blueberry might imply that it isn’t delicious in its own right. Its intensely blue flesh invites the comparison, but it dances on your tongue between tart and sweet with a juicy acidity that keeps you reaching for another handful. The Potts say that the haskap plant is quite resilient in cooler climates. It thrives in the (often) wet conditions of their property and is capable of surviving a chilly frost.
James and Audrey are the very definition of warm and welcoming to farm visitors. They started the farm after closing their used bookstore in downtown Belleville in 2003. But having retired from business ownership and, before that, from teaching careers does not mean they are showing any signs of slowing down.
If the overflowing bookshelves and stacks of books hiding under their coffee table are any indication, James and Audrey are lifelong learners—as well as educators. They are vocal champions for nutrient-dense foods like the haskaps, strawberries, tart cherries, currants and Saskatoon berries they tend so carefully.