Sweet taste of healthy berries
Unprecedented crop of cranberries being gathered this year for Polesskie Zhuraviny
By Yuri Chernyakevich
Polesie is enjoying a bumper crop of cranberries: no less than 500 tonnes (compared to 300 tonnes last year). The orchard was planted in Soviet times, in 1985, using American saplings known for heavy cropping. The experiment was a success, with the Pinsk cranberry plantation now one of the largest in Europe, occupying almost 85 hectares.
The enterprise has accumulated wide experience of cranberry cultivation and boasts two powerful pumping stations, as well as two ponds — allowing its own system of irrigation. In 2000, it gained Belgian refrigeration warehouses, with three rooms able to store about 500 tonnes of berries, allowing harvests to be kept fresh throughout the year, until the following crop. Eight varieties of cranberry are being grown in the fields near Pinsk: ‘Stevens’, ‘McFarlin’, ‘Sirls’, ‘Ben-lir’, ‘Early Ripening Black’, ‘Pilgrim’, ‘Crowly’ and ‘Hoves’. Each hectare yields 30 tonnes at most, which is a very satisfactory result.
In fact, cranberries are quite a ‘wonder food’, being known to boost the body’s immune system and general health. Fresh or frozen, the berries are a fantastic addition to anyone’s diet. Demand is ever rising, bringing exports to Russia, Lithuania, Latvia, Poland, Kazakhstan, Germany, the UK and elsewhere.
Director Vasily Lyagusky tells us that the enterprise is now cultivating blueberries: also known for their miraculous properties in boosting the human immune system. Last year, about 30 tonnes were gathered, being sold in Belarus and in neighbouring countries. Mr. Lyagusky notes that, next year, the enterprise intends to expand its blueberry plantations, in order to gather an even greater crop.