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A mix of red and white currants. When they are ripe, we have a hard time keeping up with their sheer abundance!

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A mature red currant bush, with the berries just starting to ripen from yellow to red. This one is about 5' tall, which is the maximum height.

Currants & Gooseberries (Ribes)

 

We're crazy about currants and gooseberries here at Hundred Fruit Farm! We were first introduced to these berries while living in Sweden, where almost every yard had a currant bush or two. Being resistant to deer and having very little pest problems, they thrive equally well here as they did in Sweden. Red, white, and pink currants are all the same species (Ribes rubrum) and have the same growth habits, growing to about 3-5 ft tall and wide. Black currants (Ribes nigrum) are a separate species, growing slightly taller at 3-6 ft tall. Red/white currants are better for fresh eating, but black currants have a more complex flavor. Gooseberries are similar to currants, but the plants have thorns and produce much larger berries, with a more grape-like flavor and texture. All currants and gooseberries are excellent for juices, pies, jams, jellies, drinks, etc.

All currants and gooseberries are self-fertile, but they are so good it's hard to limit yourself to just one plant! Currants and gooseberries love partial shade to full sun. They seem to thrive best in moist, rich garden soil with a tiny bit of shade, but we also have mulched rows of currants doing very well on our farm out in 100% full sun. They enjoy moist soil but like most berries won't tolerate consistently wet conditions. They are quite deer resistant, as they are among the last plants deer will choose to eat, but it's a good idea to protect very young and small plants until they can establish themselves. Once established, deer should never be a problem for most people. 

We carry many cultivars of currants and gooseberries here at HFF, and each year we add more to our collection! In 2024, we should have some new black currant, red/white currant, and gooseberry cultivars in addition to the ones listed below.

Living right near the New Jersey border, we think it's important to mention that black currants are only allowed to be grown in New Jersey with a permit because of the perceived risk of spreading white pine blister rust to white pines. In our opinion, this risk is very minimal because most modern black currant cultivars (including the ones we grow) are very resistant to this disease. And for this reason, Pennsylvania has decided not to impose any restrictions on growing currants. Red/white currants and gooseberries are allowed (without a permit) almost everywhere in New Jersey except for certain townships in the extreme northern portion of NJ (see map below).

If you live in a state other than PA/NJ, you may want to check the laws and restrictons on growing currants where you live.

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