Anybody growing black currant in MN?

MarynaMay 21, 2013

I am looking to plant some sweeter types such as Belaruskaja, Kirovchanka but I cannot seem to find a nursery selling these two types. Stumbled upon some old cached web-catalog from raintree nursery from 2013. Apparently they did have Belaruskaja in stock a couple month ago but sold out completely and only will have it next January.. what a pity..
Is anybody even growing black currant in zone 4?

Thanks!
maryna

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soilent_green

I grow "Ben Sarek" black (acquired from J.W. Jung) along with pink, white, and several kinds of red currants. Also harvest wild black currants (Ribes americanum). Currants are one of my absolute favorite berries and do quite well here - I always get more berries than I really need. Plants are currently in full bloom, unique green-petaled flowers (not many plants exist that have green flowers).

-Tom

    Bookmark   May 21, 2013 at 5:41PM
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Maryna

Tom, that is great to hear! Still biting my fingers I did not place my order a couple months ago so I could plant them this year. but it is good to know they survive mn winter.
Maryna

    Bookmark   May 21, 2013 at 9:28PM
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soilent_green

Nurseries in my area have not carried any kind of currant for many years, forcing me to go the mail order route.

Probably too late to order now but IMO the best bets regarding reputable mail order sources are accessible via the following links. Both companies are reputable and I have ordered successfully from both of them in the past. Both offer black currants but neither offer the two varieties you are seeking. Both offer hard-copy catalogs.

Nourse
J.W. Jung

Raintree Nursery is the only mail order company I have seen that carries either of the varieties you seek plus others I have never even heard of before, but I have no experience with this company so cannot attest to their reputation without further research.

If you find a local supplier, please post the source.

Good Luck!
-Tom

    Bookmark   May 21, 2013 at 9:34PM
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Maryna

Thank you Tom!
I will sure check their catalogs. I plan on getting some popular varieties as well..strata and minaj are on my list, but belaruskaja is at the top of the list. So I guess I will find out if it was worth the wait next summer... That is if it fruits first year
Maryna

    Bookmark   May 21, 2013 at 9:49PM
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soilent_green

Obviously your preference is black currant which is great, but I must say the others are quite tasty as well. My tastes lean to the tart side of things versus sweet, though. My favorite is the Pink Champagne currant - appearance and mildly tart flavor reminds me of little marble-size grapefruits. Jonkheer red is excellent flavor, average size berries, average production. Rovada red is fantastic flavor, large berries, average production. Red Lake Improved is very good flavor, large berries, very good production. Original Red Lake is excellent flavor, very good production, but small berries are a royal pain to deal with. The small, tasty berries make what I consider to be THE BEST currant pie. Blanka White is my least favorite - mediocre flavored but productive with large berries and makes a good bulk filler berry for preserves and pies. Ben Sarek is good flavor, good production, good size berries, but bush is weak and susceptible to partial freeze-out. Could just be that I have an unhealthy plant, though.

You have me interested in trying some of those other varieties you mentioned, so I think it is time for me to expand my berry patch.

You would be lucky to get some first year production, but after that it does not take long for full production to kick in. At three years I was getting one or two cups of berries per plant. Every year since then I have been filling gallon-size freezer bags. Patience has its rewards. :)

    Bookmark   May 21, 2013 at 11:15PM
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Maryna

I do have a sweet tooth :) and also lots of memories of picking out red currant of the endless bushes so that my mom could can the juice..a little stool, empty 10 liter bucket and desire of being anywhere else but by the bush... I guess when you are ten you would rather be playing.. But seriously .. If this belaruskaja Is anything like the one we grew in Belarus, it would be sold next to blackberry in the grocery store
I guess we will find out
Maryna

    Bookmark   May 21, 2013 at 11:31PM
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northernmn(3/4)

Maryna... You have also sold me on the idea of trying to add Belaruskaja to my fruit garden. As Soilent mentioined, please let us know if you find another supplier besides Raintree for next year.

Some general questions that I have about currants:

Is there still a problem with being near White Pine trees?
Do they ripen about the same time as blueberries?
Has anyone mixed the 2 berries into one pie?
Do birds go after currants like they do blueberries?

I'm thinking that a tart currant would compliment the sweetness of blueberries in a pie, jam. etc. Like how strawberry/rhubarb make a great pie.

    Bookmark   May 22, 2013 at 9:55AM
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soilent_green

"Is there still a problem with being near White Pine trees?"

The national quarantine due to WPBR decades ago was largely a failure, kind of like the quarantine efforts regarding Dutch Elm disease was and Emerald Ash Borer will be. No ribes quarantine in MN because they found that wild ribes were a bigger problem than cultivars in spreading the disease, and wild ribes could not be controlled. If you have wild ribes growing in your area then I would not worry about planting a few cultivars because it is pointless.

Have never had bird issues with my currants, but could be because there is so much other stuff they have to eat around here at that time. Also, I do not have some of the same species of birds down here as opposed to northern MN so that might be why I do not have any problems.

I make raspberry/currant jelly and chokecherry/currant jelly, also make a wonderful raspberry/currant/nanking cherry jelly. A triple-berry jelly using black/red/pink currants has a wonderful unique flavor as well. I never get to do anything with blueberries because they do not grow down here, which is a major bummer.

Answers to other questions and good related info can be found in these informative articles:

Currants 1
Currants 2

    Bookmark   May 22, 2013 at 1:57PM
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Maryna

Northernmn, I will certainly let you guys know how it turns out with Belaruskaja kind. I contacted raintree and will be watching for their next catalog...and I am still searching the web to see if I can find another supplier.. No luck so far for this particular variety..
As for the birds question I agree with Tom. The birds do not see to care for it because they concentrate on other berries ..
As for ripening period I remember them ripening after sweet cherries are done but sour Cherie's are still in.. So thinking mid July and later? I could be wrong though..I also remember them being able to stay on the bush for 2-3 weeks , they get wrinkly after a while but still do not fall off the bush ... and only get sweeter.. Defrost well when frozen, meaning they stay firm unlike for example mushy defrosted strawberry

    Bookmark   May 22, 2013 at 7:34PM
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Maryna

Belaruskaja is back in stock. Ordered mine!
http://www.raintreenursery.com/Berries/Currants/Black/

    Bookmark   May 28, 2013 at 5:36PM
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belle_michele(zone4Minnesota)

I grow a few currents, unfortunately I don't remember their names anymore-mostly red and one white and one pink.
I tried a black current but it struggled and finally died.
Burnt Ridge Nursery (I highly recommend them!) has a black current, Crandall, but it's not the one you are looking for.

    Bookmark   May 28, 2013 at 10:30PM
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Maryna

Crandall ? Sounds interesting...

    Bookmark   May 28, 2013 at 11:38PM
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BrookeAnthony

CurrantC.com has Black Currant Bushes but unfortunately, they are no longer for sale but will go up for sale again in September. Worth checking out!

Here is a link that might be useful: CurrantC

    Bookmark   May 29, 2013 at 10:43AM
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misterpatrick(4)

Natura Farms near St. Croix has black and white currants. Also the best strawberries I've ever had. They have a pick-you-own farm.

http://www.naturafarms.com/

    Bookmark   June 10, 2013 at 11:45AM
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soilent_green

Bump.

    Bookmark   July 29, 2013 at 7:33PM
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Maryna

Well.. Out of 23 plants i planted in may i lost 5 and another 10 got touched by my local silly dear deer. No berries of course this year but hoping for the next year!!

This post was edited by Maryna on Tue, Jul 30, 13 at 13:25

    Bookmark   July 30, 2013 at 1:18PM
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soilent_green

You ordered 23 plants! You must have a serious craving for your black currants. :) That will be a very nice currant patch when it matures.

So you were happy with the planting stock and the ordering experience with Raintree? Plants sure do look healthy.

What varieties?

Thanks for the update and the pic.
-Tom

    Bookmark   July 30, 2013 at 9:05PM
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Maryna

Hi Tom!

Well.. I cannot say much about Raintree since after I placed my order for belaruskaja they canceled it a couple days later saying it was a glitch and they did not really have it in stock =(

So I ended up finding this very nice lady Lucile (http://whitmanfarms.com/) who apparently also had Belaruskaja in stock earlier in the spring but run out of them by the time I called...

However she did have Minaj and she had D-6 and D-8 varieties which I believe were from Scotland and did not have official name yet since they were still in 'researching' stage..Lucile was having such good results with them that she thought I would find them sweeter than Minaj.

What can I say.. packaging was excellent, price was better and I got my black currant 4-5 days later with a couple extra cuttings. I will definitely be calling her for belaruskaja and kirovchanka this week... may be she will have them in the fall =)

Maryna

    Bookmark   July 30, 2013 at 10:24PM
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soilent_green

Thanks for the info and the link. Spent quite a while last night looking at their catalog - they have quite a selection. Based on your positive experience I will strongly consider ordering black currants from them next winter for a spring delivery. I lean towards Belaruskaja, Consort, Champion, Ben Lomond, and Laxtons Giant. They also have some red currant and gooseberry varieties I would like to acquire as well.

If you are a satisfied customer, maybe send them a note they can put in their "Testimonials" section. It is a good thing to help out a decent, reputable business. Goodness knows there seems to be fewer and fewer of them these days.

-Tom

    Bookmark   July 31, 2013 at 11:30AM
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reznil(5)

The best source of currents and gooseberries I have found is Whitman Farms. The website is primitive and not updated often, and you have to call in orders over the phone. On the plus side, when you call you talk to Lucille, a lady who is passionate about her plants and always has great advice. If you are looking for a variety that is not listed on the web site, just ask, she probably has them.

I bought Kirovchanka, Belaruskaja, Minaj Smeriou and some mysterious new Scottish varieities (D-6 and D-8) black currents from her, and after some initial misgivings, I have very grown fond of eating them fresh. The first small crop I tasted, I honestly thought they tasted like cat piss! Some people will always hate the strong taste, I think if you favor very sweet foods you will probably never like them. They are now my favorite berry, both for the strong, intense taste and the fact that birds and deer leave them alone. They also grow well in part shade. They grow fast with little work. I can see why Lee Reich recommended them.

    Bookmark   January 7, 2014 at 7:47PM
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Maryna

Which one is your favorite reznil?
I have not had any berries yet..
Maryna

    Bookmark   January 7, 2014 at 10:17PM
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reznil(5)

Hello Maryna,

As of yet, only the Bela and Minaj were big enough to pump out a decent amount of berries, because they were in their second year. The Scottish ones (D-6 and D-8) were planted in spring of 2013 and since it was their first year they have not produced berries yet. Lucille thought the Scottish varieties had a flavor that had a wider appeal for fresh eating. Hoping I can convert my wife with the Scottish varieties, she thinks that black currants taste like cat pee and wants nothing to do with them. The Russian (Kiro, Bela and Minaj) varieties are an acquired taste that not everyone will ever acquire. I have pre-ordered a Kiro for next spring, as I know I really like the Russian ones.

Cannot say I can tell much of a difference between Bela and Minaj so far, Bela seems a bit better but it is too early to tell for sure. They are all on the east side of my house, get morning sun until about 1pm and seem to like it there. I am in zone 5 (upstate NY)

I would say not to judge them by any first crop, the Russian ones produced a few scraggly berries the first year but the flavor was harsher. Eat them when big and ripe, and keep trying them. It took a while before I started to enjoy them, now I think they are great. Or just make jam with them (if you enjoy making jam), it seems everyone like the jam. Have not tried that myself.

Let me know how you do this summer, we can trade notes! Soon we will have to worry about pruning, which I have heard is really important with black currents.

    Bookmark   January 8, 2014 at 9:29PM
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Maryna

Hello reznil,
We will have to keep in touch for sure. I planted my d-6 and d-8 and minaj from Lucille in the spring 2013 as well. She was out of belaruskaja and kirovchanka by then so I could not get those but i am looking forward to planting them this spring.

Mine did not do very well. Deer and the woods almost destroyed them. So i have semi- fenced in my property last fall and will be replanting my black current farther from the woods. My dad thought I picked a bad location and he is probably right. He has been growing black current for 30 years now back in Belarus. So i plan on picking his brain this spring.

I am on zone 4 MN.
Maryna

    Bookmark   January 9, 2014 at 10:40PM
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reznil(5)

Hello Maryna,

Do I have this right, your dad has been growing black currants in Belarus, formally Russia, for 30 years? Wow, I think you have the ultimate source of black currant wisdom possible! Please, pick his brain and share!

Reznil

    Bookmark   January 10, 2014 at 6:37PM
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grow_darnit

Marina, I have some cuttings of ÃÂõûþÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂúðàÃÂûðôúðÃÂ, is that the one you are looking for? They are not rooted, but I'm sure that won't be a problem - black currants root very easily. Every time I trim my bushes I just stick the cuttings in the ground and they have roots a couple weeks later. Where in MN are you? I'll be happy to share - I got 5 cuttings and really don't have any room for them all.

    Bookmark   February 7, 2014 at 6:14PM
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Maryna

Reznil, yep, you got it right. I will share all his wisdom :)
Grow_darnit, thank you very much for offering your black currant cuts! I have already ordered some from whitman farm but i could always use more if you have some to share. I am located near stillwater. Are you within 30-40 min? Thank you,
Maryna

    Bookmark   February 8, 2014 at 12:14AM
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grow_darnit

Maryna,
I live in Rochester, MN, so not that close to you - about 2 hours. I am rooting two of the cuttings in a pot right now, we'll see how it goes. I think I might just plant them all in spring and see what happens. Let me know if you are ever in the neighborhood - I'll be happy to share and talk black currants! Good luck with your bushes!
Grow

    Bookmark   February 18, 2014 at 8:54PM
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zelda77

I'm in zone 4, got my black currants from Raintree and they have grown well, no problems, very productive every year. I would recommend their plants.

    Bookmark   March 3, 2014 at 11:33AM
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rocky-mtn-remodeler

Hi All - thanks so much for the great discussion and tips. I have been growing a pink currant but don't know the name - it is thriving here in Colorado (I keep getting new plants sprouting everywhere near the original). The birds don't bother the currants at all here. They eat everything else I grow! I wanted to add a black currant and just called Lucile at Whitman and ordered - what a nice lady! She had the Ben Lomand black and the Russe (sp?) which is not listed in her catalog but she is very happy with that variety so I am trying both.

    Bookmark   May 6, 2014 at 9:04PM
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may8(Z4 MN)

Grow_darnit, do you still have extra black currant cuts? Tried, but could not email you. Please email me. Thanks!

    Bookmark   May 8, 2014 at 6:25PM
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