Gooseberry Cultivation Business: Gooseberry farming can be a very profitable venture. This is especially true these days wherein there are lots of gooseberry products being used.
There are two types of gooseberry plants: American (Ribes hirtellum) and European (Ribes uva-crispa).
Fruit from the American cultivars are smaller, but are more resistant to mildew.
The American cultivars are also usually healthier and more productive than the European cultivars.
European cultivars tend to have larger fruit and are said to be more flavorful (Cornell University, 2015). American gooseberries are native to northeastern and north-central United States and the adjacent regions of Canada. European gooseberries are native to the Caucasus Mountains and North Africa (CRFG, 1996).
Gooseberries are often similar in size and flavor to grapes (Barney and Fallahi, 2009).
The skin of gooseberry fruit is translucent, and, depending on the cultivar, their color can be white, yellow, green, or red.
Many fruits use the common name “gooseberry.”
However these other fruits are distinctly different from the ones discussed in this profile.
The most common fruits that have a similar name are:
Cape gooseberry (Physalis peruviana), Chinese gooseberry (also known as Kiwi) (Actinidia spp.).
And Indian gooseberry (Phyllanthus emblica) (Blackstone, n.d.).
For this reason it is important to know and use scientific names.
1. Gooseberry Cultivation Business: Proper Selection of Seeds
First, it is important that you select the most competent seed available in the market. The reason is that when you have chosen the most competent seeds or plants to cultivate, they can provide you with the best gooseberries you have never tasted in the past. There are packed seeds available for you. On the other hand, people can also purchase those seeds that have already sprouted. The entire option is all yours regarding which of the options available are perfect for your own needs. The thing is that ensure that you choose the most competent seed available.
2. Gooseberry Cultivation Business: Proper Location
If you are already planting the seeds, plant them on a place where there is direct sunlight. This is usually important because during its matured and flowering stage, the flowers usually get damaged when there is no access to direct sunlight. Most of the time, gooseberries are recommended in tropical places. This is very conducive for the plant to grow. On the other hand, the plant is being discouraged to be planted in cold places. However, you can also find a variety of gooseberries that can resist cold temperatures. If you want to try planting these seeds, it is best for you to contact agriculturists in your place.
3. Gooseberry Cultivation Business: Proper Pruning
In terms of pruning, keep in mind that your gooseberries should be pruned during the summer as well as in the winter. During winter, you have to make sure that the dead woods and parts of the tree are being removed. On the other hand, the summer shoots must be cut for about 1/2 up to 2/3 a bud. Ideally, it is important for you to wait before the bud has developed. This gives you idea on where to cut the weak shoots. Another reason is for you to determine the parts to be cut in order to direct the light to the buds of the tree.
4. Gooseberry Cultivation Business: Proper Thinning
Thinning is also important when you are cultivating gooseberries. Once you have harvested its ripe fruits, you will notice that there are so many small berries available. If you want to enhance the size of these berries, see to it that you thin them with approximately 1 inch apart. In addition to that, you can also perform second thinning for about 3 inches apart. This also gives you larger berries in the future. This is usually what most experienced and expert farmers do.
4. Gooseberry Cultivation Business: Marketing Channels
Many publications caution that producers should secure the market before establishing “minor” fruit crops such as gooseberries.
However, gooseberries are considered a “specialty” crop and can be a very rewarding commodity to produce.
The marketing season for fresh gooseberries is from the beginning of June up until early August.
But most varieties will not produce fruit for that entire timeframe.
Gooseberries have a high potential for fresh market sales for a few different reasons.
Gooseberries are said to be the most shelf-stable berry handled commercially.
And they are also very aesthetically pleasing and therefore lend themselves well to farmers’ markets and grocery store displays.
Some customers might be reluctant to purchase a fruit they’re not familiar with.
So having free literature describing the fruit and its uses can be helpful.
Gooseberry Cultivation Business
5. How to add value to gooseberries cultivation
One way to add value to fresh gooseberries could be starting a U-pick operation.
On a U-pick farm, customers harvest the produce themselves.
This can allow the farm to save on labour costs during harvesting.
Often U-pick operations will supply a farm stand with already picked product for people who do not have the time.
Ability or want to pick their own product.
If you decide to offer a U-pick operation, make sure to take advantage of free advertisement through sites such as pickyourown.org.
Which provides listings of local farms providing U-pick services.
Another way to add value to gooseberries is to process them.
Gooseberries keep well if frozen, and they have been processed into many different products including.
But not limited to jams and jellies; fresh juice products; wine; and even yogurt.
6. Gooseberry Cultivation Business: Management
Pruning is one of the most important management practices when growing gooseberries.
Pruning keeps the canopy of the plant open.
Thus allowing good air circulation.
Helping to prevent certain diseases such as powdery mildew.
Pruning also helps keep the plant productive with fruit growth.
Species of Ribe produce fruit at the base of one-year-old wood.
And most fruit production come from spurs that are two and three years old.
All cultivars of gooseberries have some degree of thorns.
And for this reason pruning also helps with ease of harvesting, which is done by hand.
7. Gooseberry Cultivation Business: Financial
Planting and establishment practices for currants and gooseberries are similar to those for blueberries.
Fewer nurseries carry commercial quantities of Ribes.
However, and the cost of planting stock can be higher per unit than for blueberries.