Carrington Research Extension Center


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Northern Hardy Fruit Evaluation Project

The Northern Hardy Fruit Evaluation Project introduces growers, processors and consumers to unfamiliar yet healthy and delicious fruits which are easily grown in North Dakota so that new and existing agri-businesses can explore untapped markets.

A collage of fruits grown at the CREC.

CREC began the Northern-Hardy Fruit Evaluation Project in 2006 after hosting North Dakota’s first informal wine and grape growing meetings.  The enthusiasm and positive comments from attendees indicated a great interest, yet also told us that people who wanted to grow fruit were not being supplied with the most current information needed to make good planting decisions.

As part of our mission to expand knowledge and to use our natural resources to create new and improved economic opportunities in North Dakota, CREC enclosed six acres for woody plant research and then created and self funded the installation of the Northern-Hardy Fruit Evaluation Project to determine which fruiting plant selections would be desirable, hardy and productive in North Dakota. This is the Northern Hardy Fruit Orchard with some of the fruits it produces.

Currently, the fruit orchard covers three acres and consists of over 750 plants arranged as both demonstrations and variety trials for conducting on-going research.  Installation of plants began in spring 2006 and was largely completed in 2007; missing plants were added in 2008 and new cultivars continue to be evaluated for inclusion in the project.

The primary objective is to evaluate each crop for adaptation, disease resistance, production practices, winter hardiness, productivity, fruit quality, and vinification quality under central North Dakota growing conditions. 

  • This work consists of care for the plants via pruning, fertilizing, mowing, weed control, harvesting, measuring, and freezing the crop, evaluating fruit attributes, and measuring the plants for height and width, vigor, insect and disease pressure, bud injury, and winter survival.

A second objective is to make home gardeners and commercial enterprises aware of the opportunities presented by these fruits.  CREC believes the project will foster current and emerging agricultural industries based on fruit production or processing of North Dakota-grown fruits. 

Here are some ways that you can interact with the fruit project:

  • If your business uses fruit, become a product cooperator
  • Attend a meeting or presentation - contact CREC for a schedule
  • Check back here for annual reports and other information.
  • Become a Facebook friend:
  • Attend our yearly Field Day on the third Tuesday in July and hear from fruit production experts.

For more information contact:

Kathy Wiederholt
Fruit Project Manager
NDSU Carrington Research Extension Center
663 Hwy. 281 NE
PO Box 219
Carrington, ND  58421
fax 701-652-2055

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