black_currants
Black Currants

Black Currants

nutritional powerhouses!

PrairieTech Propagation is pleased to offer black currants as a hardy fruit crop for the Prairies. Their production was banned for many years in the US because they were believed to be an alternate host for white pine blister rust. With the development of new resistant cultivars, however, there is renewed interest in black currant production, and for good reason.

Black currants are nutritional powerhouses! They have vitamin C concentrations four times higher than citrus fruit; double or triple the amount of potassium found in most fruit and 30-40 types of bioflavonoids. Most commercially available black currant cultivars contain 130-200 mg vitamin C/100 ml juice but some breeding lines contain up to 350 mg/100 ml juice.

Cultivars

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Ben Connan

Fruit:

  • Size: Large (1.3g) deep black fruit
  • Flavor: Pleasant acid/sweet flavor
  • Yield: High Yield
  • Other: Early, uniform ripening

Bush:

  • Growth Habit: Compact growth habit
  • Uses: Good for fresh eating, jams, preserves, canning, not recommend for juicing
  • Other: Mechanically harvestable
    • Good for u-pick, home gardens

Ben Hope

Fruit:

  • Size: Large fruit (1.35g)
  • Flavor: Good flavor
  • Yield: High Yield

Bush:

  • Growth Habit: Upright, vigorous growth
  • Uses: Fresh market, good for juicing
  • Other: Mechanically harvestable

Ben Sarek

Fruit:

  • Size: Large fruit (1.0-1.5g)
  • Flavor: Pleasant tasting
  • Yield: High Yield

Bush:

  • Growth Habit: Compact growth, medium vigor
  • Uses: Fresh market, not recommended for juice
  • Other: U-pick, home gardens

Ben Tirran

Fruit:

  • Size: Medium fruit (1.0g)
  • Flavor: Pleasant tasting
  • Yield: High yield
  • Other: Flowers a little later

Bush:

  • Growth Habit: Upright and vigorous growth
  • Uses: Good for juicing, and jams
  • Other: Mechanically harvestable
    • Good for u-pick, home gardens

Tiben

Fruit:

  • Size: Medium fruit (1.0g)
  • Yield: High Yield
  • Other: Even ripening
    • Resistant to powdery mildew
    • Relatively resistant to White Blister Pine Rust

Bush:

  • Growth Habit: Large upright bushes
  • Uses: Good for fresh eating, jams
  • Other: Mechanically harvestable

Details

About Black Currants

We grow the ‘Ben’ series of black currants from the Mylnefield Research Station in Scotland, estimated to account for 50% of global production. Early breeding programs at MRS sought to introduce early spring cold hardiness into cultivars, yet maintain heavy commercial production. The first cultivar was Ben Lomond, introduced in 1975 to good commercial success. Since then, newer cultivars with better attributes have replaced Ben Lomond. Ben Hope is now the most widely planted commercial cultivar in the UK and Europe because of its high yields, good flavor and reduced susceptibility to gall mite.

Current breeding programs aim to introduce late flowering characteristics into cultivars so flowers are not damaged by late spring frosts. Disease resistance and fruit quality, flavor and nutritional aspects are also evaluated. Many black currant cultivars are used for processing into juices and jams but can also be used for fresh eating; Ben Connan and Ben Sarek are good fresh-eating choices with large, flavorful berries.

Pruning

Pruning (Organic Black Currant Production Manual)

  • Remove about 1/3 of the oldest stems each year
  • OIder stems bark very dark, almost black
  • Leave 10-12 stems per mature bush
  • Cut close to the ground

Planting & Spacing Chart

  • In Row Spacing 3-4ft
  • Between Row Spacing 12-18ft
  • Ben Sarek can be planted closer together (e.g. 3ft)
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