Carrington Research Extension Center


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A Note on Fruit Project Cooperators


I would like to acknowledge the ingenuity and craftsmanship of our local fruit businesses in North Dakota by highlighting one that has had recent success in a nationwide competition.


In November, Carrington area’s local winery, Dakota Sun Gardens Winery, Grace City, won a Jefferson Medal at the 15th annual Jefferson Cup Invitational with their Haskap wine. This is a pretty big deal!  Only American wines that have already won other competitions are invited. This year, over 740 wines were invited to compete and in the end, just 38 won a Jefferson Medal. Bruce and Merleen Gussiaas' Haskap wine was one of just seven that won in the dessert category - and the only non-grape wine in the whole group of Jefferson Medal winners.  The second wine they entered, Aronia wine, was also awarded a medal of excellence. This means they won two of the five top prizes given to the group of 12 fruit wine entries.


Dakota Sun Gardens is a great supporter of the efforts of the CREC Fruit Project and just one of several businesses that have used over 5,000 pounds of fruit from the project in the last five years. Others include: Berry Dakota, Jamestown; Maple River Winery, Casselton; Vintner’s Cellar, Bismarck; Karen’s Kuchens, Cavalier; and Tongue River Vineyard, Miles City, MT.

One of our initial goals was to introduce these hardy fruits to Pride of Dakota businesses that use fruit, in the hope that they would want to a) try the fruit, b) have customers like the product, and c) grow the fruit or find someone to grow it for them.  It is not our intention to be the sole supplier of these fruits. The state needs growers and in the last two years there have been over a dozen requests for information from people who want to start orchards in the state.  That’s exciting!

If you are a Pride of Dakota fruit-using-business and would like to try new fruit products, contact us and we’ll get you registered.

If you are interested in growing fruit for others, you need to talk to fruit-using businesses and find out their needs before you make planting decisions.  Crops that are most desired now are haskaps/honeyberries, Juneberries, and black or red currants. The CREC has eight years of fruit production and growth information to help you make your decisions.

Kathy Wiederholt 
Fruit Project Manager

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