Current research includes identifying healthy berries that can be grown in the state, cider apples, and strawberries. You may find useful information on fruits like apricots, pears and plums from this publication on short season, high altitude tree fruits from the University of Idaho. However, we are not currently researching those varieties.
Cold-Hardy, Superfood Fruits:
Berry‐based “nutraceuticals” or “superfoods” have captured public attention and represent a growing market for fruit production in Montana. In addition, local food processors have expressed a strong interest in incorporating these fruits into their products such as wines, jams, syrups, and juices.
For example, annual blueberry consumption in North America has increased 4-fold, from ~0.25 billion lbs. in 1995 to over 1 billion lbs. today. While blueberries are not easily grown in most parts of the state, other types of blue and purple berries and small fruits can be. These include Aronia, Haskaps, Dwarf Sour Cherries, Elderberries, Saskatoons (Serviceberries), and Currants.
Local fruit growers/processors are interested in producing these types of berries but lack the basic information concerning which types and varieties are adapted to grow in Montana. This project will test the feasibility of these new crops at multiple sites across the state. The goals of this project are to
1) Determine which “superfood” fruits are productive and profitable.
2) Educate growers and consumers on which fruits do well in the state and how to grow them.
3) Increase the supply and demand for Montana-grown fruits
WARC is collaborating with MSU extension, MSU-Plant Sciences, and Flathead Valley Community College to evaluate the cold-hardiness, flavor, and productivity of nearly 50 varieties of Haskap, Aronia, Dwarf Sour Cherries, Elderberries, Saskatoons (Serviceberries), and Currants at four sites across the state. The sites will be located at Corvallis, Kalispell, Bozeman, and two locations in Helena. The trial will measure their winter hardiness, pest susceptibility, production and flavor.