That’s a Bummer about the Berries

We were so keen on currants and gooseberries, all along the chain link fence that borders our backyard. But it seems they are still banned in the state of Massachusetts – because Ribes plants could be hosts to the fungus spores that causes White Pine Blister Rust. The ban used to be on the entire US but has been lifted in most States except some New England States, like Mass.

Never mind that there are now currants and gooseberry strains that are resistant to it. There is one grower, in Western Mass., who produces what looks like fantastic berry bushes that are just right for our situation. But they’re not allowed to sell them to customers in Mass.

I spoke with someone from the State’s Ag. Dept. and he said I could apply for a license, but the variances (distances from the closest white pine stand)  are so tight it’s almost impossible to qualify. The “bush guy” at my Garden Center said forget it; he knows of someone local who tried and all he got was the bureaucratic runaround.

Our shade is quite deep: the places where we can grow berries are on the chainlink fences in the constant shade of pines, oaks and beeches.  What food to grow there?

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  1. I’m aware of that issue. I thought one of the two currant varieties was allowed, although you may have to pass through some red tape first.

    Even if you count them out, there are so many other berries. The usual blackberry, raspberry, and blueberry, and of those, multiple varieties. Raspberries in particular have different colored varieties and names, loganberry, boysenberry, black raspberry, etc.. But I am definitely going to put in lingonberries next spring. You never really see them but they are native to the northeast, or at least they were at one time. If you managed the water drop properly maybe you could even put in cranberries.

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