New Brunswick

New superfruit on the block

A couple in Chipman harvested their first crop of sea buckthorn this fall and are now using it to make a wide range of health food and other products.

NB growers harvest first crop of sea buckthorn

You can add another berry to the list of superfruits that grow very well in New Brunswick.

Besides the cranberry bogs and wild blueberry fields, there's an orchard in Chipman, that has yielded its first crop of sea buckthorn.

"Our plants seem to enjoy the space that they're in," said Beth Fowler.

Fowler and her partner are growing the berries on 10 acres at Big Sky Ventures.

"They seem to be growing bigger and they're flourishing a lot better. They've got a root system stronger than other places we've seen. We've been quite successful so far, so we're very happy with those results," she said.

Sea buckthorn is a hot trend in health food, described as tasty little berries, rich in nutrients such as Omega 3, Omega 7 and Vitamin C. They're also known as sandthorn, sallowthorn, or seaberry.

Fowler says it was her partner's idea to get into the business. He was searching for something that might help his daughter who's diabetic.

"She was very sick," said Fowler.

"He almost lost her probably about nine times. So being a farmer and having a farm background and a farm education he started researching what would benefit her — her body and help with her pancreas and things like that. So he came upon sea buckthorn."

The berry has 190 bioactive components and helps blood pressure too, Fowler said.

It has a very unique taste, she said.

Fowler and her partner have made juice and wine with sea buckthorn, chocolate-covered candies, and salsa.

"You could put in on your oatmeal, but it would kind of float," she said.

There's also a lot of value in the chaff, she said. 

They offer workshops in how to use it at the orchard. They're holding an open house on Sunday, Dec. 21,  and two more on Dec. 27 and New Year's Day. The orchard and lodge are located at 320 Redbank Road, about 2 km past the Chipman ranger station.

Big Sky sea buckthorn products are also available at a couple of natural and local food stores in Fredericton.