About Sea Buckthorn
Most commonly produced in China, Finland, Germany, Latvia, Russia, Sweden and in the United Kingdom. Sea buckthorn is an excitingly unique plant which produces bright, beautiful orange berries that pack a punch of delicious citrus flavour. The rest of the tree, such as its branches and leaves, is completely edible as well.
It’s latin name Hippophae rhamnoides L. Elaeagnaceae the words hippo (horse) and phae (shining), was given to these berries because in Ancient Greece the leaves and branches of young sea buckthorn were supposedly fed to horses as a remedy to support weight gain and the appearance of their coats. Other common names for sea buckthorn include: Siberian pineapple, sea berry, sandthorn or swallowthorn.
Sea buckthorn berries have 50 times more vitamin C than an orange!
Health benefits of sea buckthorn
Today, sea buckthorn is still plenty valuable, as its list of incredible benefits continues to grow in incredible ways – like protecting astronauts against radiation in space, for one. There is a long list of sea buckthorn health benefits including:
- Very high in vitamin C – these berries hold 50 times the amount you’d typically find in oranges, as well as vitamin E, carotenoids, phytosterols, essential fatty and antioxidants
- All omega fatty acids – like omega 3, 6, 9, and even the rare omega 7
- High protein levels – the leaves themselves consist of 15 percent protein
We only mow between the trees twice a year to let the wild flowers grow freely and encourage pollinators to visit the orchard.
Much like sea buckthorn helps humans and animals (chickens love it!) with its high-nutritional value, the trees themselves help support the very land they’re grown in.
Remarkably, sea buckthorn:
- Fixates nitrogen in the soil instead of depleting it
- Is salt tolerant
- Is drought resistant
- Can survive +40 and -40 degree temperatures
- Acts as a habitat for birds and insects
- Does not require the use of pesticides or non-organic fertilizers
How is sea buckthorn grown?
Truthfully, it’s a labour of love. There are both male and female trees, both of which are needed in order to grow fruit. The male trees contain what look like mini pinecones that release pollen in May that is carried by the wind to the female trees that also have small pinecone-like pods that open up to accept the pollen. It takes between three to five years for a tree to start bearing fruit, but worth the wait.
We grow our berries using organic, regenerative and permaculture practices without the use or fertilizers or pesticides of any kind.
Harvesting the berries
Harvest season normally kicks off in mid-August, or as soon as the berries turn from apple green to their bright orange colour. The season lasts for only about a month depending on rainfall and night time temperatures.
Harvesting is all done by hand and is very labour intensive, as mechanical methods of harvesting would damage the berry. The branches contain thorns that make harvesting a slow process. We trim our trees at time of harvest and freeze the berry laden branches to make it easier for them to drop off.
The berries then need to be washed and separated from the leaf litter and either sold fresh or they are frozen the same day they are picked.