By Harrison Hughes, Colorado State University, Department of Horticulture
Did you know that a once-in-a-lifetime event has come along in the world of horticulture?
It's the introduction of a new berry, the Jostaberry, which is a cross between a gooseberry and a black currant. The Jostaberry was under development for more than 30 years by the late Dr. Rudolph Bauer in West Germany.
This plant is a complex cross, but the result is a totally new berry that combines the best qualities of both parents. The objective in developing the Jostaberry was to 1) create a good quality berry; 2) a higher yielding berry than the currant; 3) a thorn-free plant (gooseberry thorns aren't a desirable plant trait); 4) a plant with immunity to or resistance against various diseases.
Dr. Bauer achieved these goals. The Jostaberry has a new flavor bringing out the best of a gooseberry with the mild hint of black currant. The gooseberry thorns are gone; immunity or resistance against major diseases is built-in, and the production is higher than either of its parents.
Jostaberries are high in vitamin C and are excellent for eating, juicing, freezing and processing.
The plant needs a lighter soil with high organic content; mulch also is recommended. The Jostaberry is winter hardy for a location such as Colorado, though it's recommended that in areas that reach below -25 degrees F, a trial planting be conducted first.
The plant isn't widely available locally at this time. Ask your favorite local nurseryman or consult mail-order catalogs.
Photo courtesy of Washington State University
© CSU/Denver County Extension Master Gardener 2010
888 E. Iliff Avenue, Denver, CO 80210
Date last revised: 01/05/2010