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Black Currant Field Day
July 11, 2021 @ 9:30 am - 4:30 pm
The time is right to expand black currants (Ribes nigrum) as a crop in Wisconsin. Farmers in Wisconsin that grow black currants consider them to be viable from an agronomic standpoint, citing the following attributes: extremely cold hardy, able to grow on a wide variety of soil types and a wide range of pH, less attractive to wildlife, can produce up to 6,000 pounds per acre, can be machine harvested, and they hold on the bush to allow for flexible harvest dates.
Two farms, one field day! We’ll begin the morning with a visit to Elsewhere Farm: to learn more about managing an integrated food forest system that includes a pear overstory and understory of elderberry, aronia, and highbush cranberry, and how the farmer incorporates grazing pigs. We will be highlighting the several varieties of currants grown here and why they aren’t a part of the food forest. Hint: it has to do with manure management. Afterwards, we’ll head to Highland Valley Farm: to learn about their red and black currant operation: varieties to harvest. We’ll end the tour with a tasting of the end product at their onsite winery ($1/taste) for a discussion about flavor. Join us for one or both! This tour is great for people who are thinking about growing currants and what cultivars would suit them best.
Lunch and dinner suggestions:
-The Fat Radish restaurant. Located between Elsewhere and Highland Valley farms. They emphasize local produce and have an original menu. Also, Cornucopia (where the Fat Radish is located) has a fantastic coffee shop for a pick-me-up!
–White Winter Winery in Iron River (bonus: sample the products made with Rick’s currants).
SARE research report from Elsewhere farm to check out if you’re interested!: https://northcentral.