A beautiful rainbow over the orchard!
our story

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Chapter 1
Welcome to our story! You may find it interesting - I know we did! And a lot of hard work in the sun and rain and cold but in the end very worthwhile.  So lets start somewhere near the beginning shall we. First there was talk about planting a few Sea Buckthorne trees for their great medicinal berries. Very hard to pick - big thorns (it's in the name) very tart and almost unknown. During our research we stumbled upon the U of S research into Haskap berries, Dr Bob and the great U of S crew, and so the adventure began. Soon there were haskap days to be attended in Saskatoon, propagators in Henribourg to be met and a thousand details to be arranged. The fact that it happened at all is a little miracle as you will see!
2017 - A very big year!!

The farm - a few paintball fields, a few U-pic Saskatoon bushes, some U-pic raspberries
and the usual bin yard with a garden along the grid.  But not for long..... look east....

In the beginning (Apr 25th) - when it was planned to expand
the U-pick by adding 100 Honey Bee & Borealis over by the U-pick Saskatoons - and then it all changed and expanded
and the idea just GREW!!


Initial doodling on a Google Earth view of my home quarter

using my canola swathes for calculations using the
 topography of the land for planning purposes!


Lifting 2 year old Honey Bees to transplant
from Haskap Central Sales!

Watch the video here!

Curtis from Haskap Central Sales holding a prime example of
air layering - when a branch lays down near the ground and roots sending up new shoots.  Makes tremendous root structure
to support a bigger plant!

Lifting 2 year old Honey Bee at Haskap Central Sales -
look at the roots on that beauty!  I had to get all of those
 tucked down into the trenches when it was  transplanted!

Conditions SO WET when we went to dig Honey Bee that we could only park at edge of grid and handle bushes several times to transfer them from digging to trailer via the tractor bucket.  Slow process!

trailer full

After a busy day of lifting and packing into the trailer the 2 yr old
Honey Bee & 1 yr old Indigo Gem from Haskap Central Sales --then
we found the real work was about to begin!! This happened May 13th -
1 month and a day after the initial idea that started with Sea Buckthorn!!

Very first row tilled!!  Look how straight it is! 
We used the gps rows
of seeding to help us with
our staking!  See the stakes at the top of
the hill
for more rows?

Caught Murray in passing - rototilling is a high
speed activity :)

Preparing the first row for transplanting the 2 yr old Honey Bee we bought from Haskap Central Sales.  I didn't have the bar set quite right yet on the v-ditcher so Ashton had to remove some of the extra lumps to make room for those huge roots!

Enjoy a short video of the planting action!

First 4 in Row 1 planted with Bear guarding
 against a wayward mouse!

Phase 1 overview - first plants in - tractor cuts in
more rows in the background.


Caught Murray in action making
those rows nice and straight!


Trenching for big plants with the venerable 150!

honey bee
It's a start as we can see now how far we've come.
Working on row 1 of 3 rows of 2 year old Honey Bee.


Long hours trying to get the transplanting done!

Logan helping for a couple of hours after work!

One of the plants that have "LAYERED" or when a branch lays down, roots and subsequently sends up more shoots! Makes for a big plant that you can plant lengthwise in the row but lots of roots to deal with.


Huge example of a 1 year old Indigo Gem to be transplanted.


Transplanting 1 year old Indigo Gem from Haskap
Central Sales in trench made by Versatile 150.

More planting from quad trailer.

plants in
Another load from Curtis!

When a branch lays down and roots itself and sends up multiple shoots you have a much bigger plant than original as noted with this transplanted 2 year old Honey Bee!


A beautiful specimen!  And my dog Bear part of the action.

Check out the video laying drip tape!
12 Seconds long.

Overview of Phase 1 - getting a lot done!
Watch the video.


Testing the drip tape for coverage.
As much as it looks like Murray is just relaxing and posing he is actually holding down the end roll of the starter plastic mulch - we just give him the look good  jobs:)))

As traumatic as it should have been to be ripped out, moved and transplanted - these hardy Haskaps are struggling valiantly to bloom on May 21st - just 8 days after planting!!

Martin planting Aurora for me during
seeding -  May 23, 2017

Martin planting video!

Raeanne with the drip tape in place - not all rows were  plastic mulched.

One heck of a pile of work to tear apart round bales with a pitchfork to straw mulch 4 rows of 1 year old transplanted Indigos. Wouldn't recommend it unless you are looking for an exercise program!

First planted row of Honey Bee is done!!

Partial row 17 of 2 year old transplanted Honey Bee before drip tape and bark mulch!

Dr Bob
June 9th I caught up to Dr. Bob out in their orchard for a few tidbits of info while I was there loading up the van with leftover baby plants  at the conclusion of the U of S plant sale. !

You'll laugh when you see I don't like to waste a trip or an opportunity! A steep learning curve and Dr Bob certainly is a fount of information readily shared!

Yes the van was very full of little babies!

Murray holding our bare-rooted Sea Buckthorn that were the cause that got us into this mess in the first place - LOL!!  It was his request of "Did I have a little land to spare to plant a few trees for health purposes?" that started us researching on April 12th that branched off into haskaps and getting a few of them (first 100) April 25th while in Calgary to add to my Saskatoon & Raspberry & Chokecherry u-pic orchards.  Within a couple weeks that idea had expanded to the story you see unfolding!!  What an adventure it has been:)))


Had help a couple of the days spreading bark mulch on Honey Bee transplanted rows and also on the U-pic Saskatoons.  Think ended up being 6 tandem truck loads used!
Helps to have the big toys when doing jobs like transporting ?6 tandem loads of bark mulch used between the Honey Bee rows and the U-pic Saskatoon orchard.

An aerial view looking across the field from top of granary.

Another angle - looks good so far.


Dedication or stupidity?  We're not sure but we were still trying to finish up planting the van load of U of S babies at midnight the night before going to the lake for a couple days!  By flashlight and quad lights we got the job done and with my trusty guard dog Bear never far from the action:)

Know we are desperate to finish when out by the quad lights we are getting these last U of S babies into the ground!   Sure made it hard to read the tags though:)

We planted 2 nights in a row til midnight but may be easier to see as this one taken at 9:38 pm while still light!

Baby Auroras that just 8 weeks before were a dormant little stick that Martin planted for us!  Amazing don't you think?

In case you need to navigate out here's your chance! Our story button takes you to the top of the page! More to come below!
whats new

6 Auroras in hand and more to ripen - pretty amazing for a tiny one year old plant - gave us real hope for the future!  Plus they were delicious!   Darn near made me cry when after 3 days of rain went out to harvest them and not a berry left in sight--neither ripe or green--they were all gone!  Our first experience with birds:((((

Gave us an idea what size the Auroras might be!  Think these were the only ones we got before the birds helped themselves!

dr bob
During the July 2017 Haskap Days at the Univ of Sask. we listened to Dr. Bob Bors - the selective breeding guru responsible for the most recent additions of awesome varieties during 17 years of his work with them - as well as moving along our very steep learning curve on all things Haskap!!

One example of U of S's netting during some of Dr. Bob's studies - trying to save the berries from the birds.  The bad part of making them taste so good!

We got our first live view of the Joanna harvester in operation - we weren't as impressed as hoped but found out later there were a couple attachments either missing or not set properly so wasn't a fair trial.  Sure a lot better than picking acres by hand though:)

Following the U of S presentations Haskap Central Sales asked us to join in the enjoyment of some gourmet cooking using Haskaps and the menu created by a master chef.  It was both tasty and colorful not to mention the healthy properties!

Course 1

Course 3

Course 4

Course 5

In addition to all the new orchard happenings there was still the U-pic Raspberry patch to deal with - beautiful as they are - as well as an acre of U-pic Saskatoons too! 
Not a lot of sleep in my days!

July 7th and Aurora are thriving!

Some beautiful U-pick raspberries!!

The Saskatoon berries at Renouf Farms U-Pick were also thriving!

Overview Phase 1 from granary after baling done!

Video with geese in field!  (22 secs)

Did I mention that we also have Chokecherries for U-pick or order as well? Excellent for making Jelly, Syrup or Wine!  Did I mention that I'm not bored:))

Sometimes when you spend long days outside you see very interesting things - like this Mushroom cloud over Melfort!

Full harvest moon over new phase 2 rows being made!

Curtis from Haskap Central Sales ready to lift some 6 year old Indigo Gem he needs to move using his big digger.

Curtis saying hurry up with the picture cause he can't haul these by himself.  These 6 yr old Indigo Gem are huge!  We worked VERY hard that day!

Video of Gator pulling 6 year old Indigo Gems! 20 Secs

An example of the HUGE root structure of a single 6 year old Indigo Gem - and Curtis's digger only goes ?4 feet wide - so who knows how much we cut off or broke off pulling what remains out of the loosened soil??  All I know is I had a heck of a battle transplanting these in the biggest trench my v-ditcher could make at home in Phase 2! But they all survived!

Getting more efficient at packing - LOL - as even with 2 layers and pushing as hard as we could my 16ft stock trailer only held about 32 - 6 yr old Indigo Gems!

First plants going into Phase 2 expansion - the 6 yr old Indigo Gems dug at Haskap Central Sales - many of them we attempted to split or divide because Curtis's use of them for propagation was a different growth style than we'd want for berry production!  Another HUGE job getting those root structures down into my biggest v-ditch trench!

Have to say this was a LOT of backbreaking labour!  First couple years of berries helped make it worthwhile!

Row 3 Indigos - we are showing some progress!

Burning late night oil again trying to finish the job but at least got some help from Logan during last few hours!

A single Indigo fills quad trailer - late enough now can't remember if I still split it up or just planted the whole thing!!

Looking back over our row of 6 yr old Indigo Gems now that all finally in the ground - an amazing feat actually with tons of backbreaking labour! - and my yard in the background.

With all these extra acres of grass and dandelions to cut thought it was imperative to get a bigger mower into action so next year will see this one hooked onto the Kubota all summer, as well as a new fabric shed to help store extra stuff we seem to be acquiring!

An example of what the root structure does when planted too deep - creates a second root collar I guess and and another set of roots as they like to be near the surface.  Thought it was interesting!

The big 6 yr old Indigo asleep in the snow - maybe we can rest now too!!!


Had to design labels to sell our awesome berries in the local

Started off 2018 thinking to put some frozen berries into
Nutters but plan didn't work  - but it did give Murray a
chance to do an amazing job developing the logo!

Apr 19 and the orchard still sleeping peacefully.......

At least the big Indigos caught lots of snow to help fill the dugout for irrigation later :)

In addition to developing and planting the orchard there is also the additional work of processing or packing equipment so here is the first of several sea cans we acquired for storage, etc.  Auctions are very helpful :)

Easy for Ritchie Bros to load but takes a little more creativity to unload with smaller equipment and juggling to get it into place:)  It's called a tractor dance.

If you look close you can see the tape applicator ready to splice the new roll onto the old.  This old machine still does the trick even though its been around for quite some time!  Just took some adjusting to get it set to properly keep the plastic nice and tight and the edges well buried!

Another view of the mulch layer with rows of Phase 2 on either side - some already plastic mulched.  Rows need to be very well rototilled to allow the discs to fold the loose dirt back over the edges of the plastic.

My view of mulching from the seat of the John Deere - oops -- not quite straight!!  We've also incorporated laying the drip tape as part of the operation instead of separate and you may notice it inside the chain showing on the hitch to keep it centered with it feeding off a roll hanging from the bucket!!


Having to do some repair on Phase 1.  VERY important to get edges of the plastic mulch well buried so the wind doesn't catch and rip it or do damage to your plants with it flapping around!
Learned much later that driving the quad repeatedly over the buried edges of the mulch packed the dirt down and it withstood much more abuse from the wind without coming loose. Lessons learned.......

Green leaves and many new blooms on new plants in Phase 2.  All we need now are the bees!  Did you know it takes 2 blooms to make 1 berry?  And that they have to be pollinated to produce fruit!

Considering that these 6 yr old Indigo's were literally ripped out of the ground last fall, stuffed in a trailer and then manipulated into the ground and in many cases split apart too -- it amazes me to see their resilience and that they have leaves and blooms this spring!!!!!!  May 19, 2018

The most important part of this pic is the hundreds of shutoff valves we now have as part of our irrigation system - but in this case just an example of necking down the end of a hose into a drip line shutoff valve.

Because some of our orders like the Auroras always come during the middle of seeding once again had to have Martin come and plant a few hundred more on Phase 2.  Learned the hard way we should have walked each row and straightened up any that weren't perfect because this causes trouble later as they grow. Check out the video here 37 Seconds!

Unfortunately our order for Martin to plant came frozen so having to thaw and prepare to speed up the process!

Phase 1 Auroras growing and blooming now that 2 years old!  Hard to believe just a twig a year ago.

Big rain storms filled our ditch between Phase 1 & 2 and emphasized why we didn't plant straight through - and had to leave enough turn around space for harvester in case it's wet during the picking season.

4 days later and the water is even higher!  It was another gloomy day caused by the smoke laden air from the forest fires in the north! That is the sun not the moon!

We've had some wicked weather but sometimes the clouds look neat!

You never know what might come out of something like this!

Making serious fruit even this small!

Transplanted Honey Bee thriving - a setback on new growth shoots but didn't seem to harm the plant itself!

Bird's eye view of Phase 2 from top of bins!

Caught Murray in front of 6 yr old Indigos transplanted last year - lots of leaves - amazingly doing well:)

I forgot to take a pic of van loaded but you get the idea --barely enough room left for drivers! This is a load of micro propagated plants from Young Plants Canada in Elrose, Saskatchewan, ready to put into phase 2.

A prime example of lots of potential on this Haskap with all those shoots !!

Loaded the quad trailer with half the order - ready for watering or to travel to the orchard for planting as time permits.

The rest of the Young Plants Canada order hardening off ready for planting as I have time.

Large order for 2018 from Young Plants Canada and their cloned plants.  Very hard work to plant the small ones on our hands and knees:)  Guard dog Bear oversees!

Looking back towards yard and Flatlands Paintball across both phase 1 in the foreground and phase 2.

Another storm coming -- sometimes it's hard to get the work done!

Storm just passed by - and a pretty rainbow!


1 to 4 hours a day for a couple weeks was spent transplanting - whatever time I had to spare from other farm duties as we were into the busy spraying season too!  Watch video here 26 seconds.

Notice the big leaves of new growth in the couple weeks since we've had our order - very healthy!

Still have to take care of Phase 1 even though hours a day working in Phase 2!

Varieties in the test plot showing origin of cultivar.

A prolific huge beauty that unfortunately is not ours but gives us inspiration for years to come!!


Then we decided might as well buy the plants and be part of the Variety Trials!  Some look very different in leaf color and shape. Quite a mix.

Raeanne planting the variety trial - several plants of many different varieties will be something to compare in a few years.

How else could we see some of the different varieties from other regions even though we think Dr. Bob's from the U. of S. are best:)))  Listing is above because it fit better there.

Just finishing up the phase 2 planting - lots of back breaking work!!

During Murray's drone flight he also caught us as part of the action standing in Phase 2 almost all planted!


On a calm day we flew Murray's drone for some aerial views!  Shows we added 2 high row of round bales to provide some windbreak to help out the bees flying during our windy spring days trying to pollinate our Haskaps!

View of Phase 1 with dugout in the background.

Sometimes you just need to stop the work and admire Mother Nature's beauty:)
Our dog Bull enjoying the peaceful evening after the storm passed!

And a beautiful sunsets marks the end of another busy day!

After another day spent enjoying the U of S Haskap Days - we were piped into the supper organized by Haskap Central Sales.  A few people walking down the street stopped to enjoy the show as well

And from another angle with the orchard owner enjoying the skirl of the pipes and a cameo from Curtis as well!

Another gourmet meal using Haskaps in many tasty & colourful ways.


Along with a mini trade show for attendees I was asked to do a presentation of "Our Story" using these pics and talking during 45 minutes of our meal:)


Wish they'd given larger portions!

Gourmet chefs make interesting presentations!

Delicious & fancy:)

Just over a year ago we started. It is amazing to watch it come to life!

After losing every last berry off our Auroras last year we thought we'd attempt to net some this year!  Wouldn't recommend laying netting on the plants but live and learn:)

On the dry days we used the Kubota to unroll it - on the wet days chained the bar to the quad and I carried the other end of the roll and walked along all the rows!  Too many wet days I can tell you!

Now we started working on our professional image by creating small table signs as well as 2' by 4' poster boards for the weeks I went to Melfort Farmer's Market with fresh berries.  Lots of samples and teaching people about Haskaps while selling other berries from my U-pic too!

On other days - in my spare time LOL - picked & packaged berries for sale at our local Melfort Farmer's Market.  I sell in large quantity or small.   In addition to the Haskaps there is an acre of Saskatoons and half acre of raspberries to be taken care of too.

You'd think I got bored but decided we needed more windbreak so I dug up Poplar & Lilac volunteers around the farm and thought to make another row at edge of phase 2.  No idle time around here:)


Murray wondering if we are done yet????
Notice how the row perfectly follows the contour of the ditch! Pretty good freestyle tractor driving.

No drip tape here so have to manually water for first while!

We thought we'd do 2 more rows of Sea Buckthorn as well for windbreak & healthy berries so dug up suckers from elsewhere and of course still planting late into the night.  Work seems never to be done!  Almost 11 pm:) With Melfort's lights in the background,

Big quantities or small sold at the Melfort Farmer's Market or delivered into Melfort or Saskatoon if I'm traveling that way and have also taken in orders!  Customers almost fighting over them some days:)

The coins just show how lovely these ones were!  Amazing what water & some fertilizer and TLC do:)  Customers at the Melfort Farmer's Market booking ahead when I sold out!

Beautiful berries from our U-pic.  Will be getting product ready for sale at Nutters. Or call/text 306-921-8265 for your day to pick!

It's a busy time but we also picked and packaged berries for sale at our local Nutter's!  Fresh in store and posted on their Facebook too:)

Famous friends - Alex & Erin from Pointe Tango - were performing their 7 shows at Saskatoon's Fringe Festival but took a day to come enjoy the farm and berries between shows.  We gave them a very classy ride home with my 1-ton diesel GMC dually as a trip to the city had to do some business too:)

Alex and Erin with some berries in hand to build up their strength to roam the orchard eating as they went! Very special privileges for very special dancers!!

And they had to try  paintball at least in the shooting range - lots of fun and unique stuff to see and try.

Not often is the tango done in jeans and pointe shoes
but it is here - such lovely and talented dancers!


Getting our manual "berry catching" machine to the orchard.  Notice the smoky haze still in the air from distant forest fires!

Used modified reciprocating saws to shake the plants then catch the berries - beats picking them one by one!!!  But 6-12 hours a day most days from July 8th to mid August gets a little old......  Beat the birds by taking netting off immediately before harvesting:) Our original Sea Buckthorn are the silvery trees growing behind Row 1 Honeybee. Watch the VIDEO here!
Our first attempt at picking HoneyBee.  Picked the big leaves off the top already!

Can't forget the garden produce - 5 long rows of potatoes needed digging late September between showers & combining & swathing and of course during the summer there is also baling as I have cattle and horses too :)  Notice this is happening after dark again!

The season is just about done but an overview shows that much has been accomplished.

Another drone pic showing the Phase 1 dugout with the pickup clearly visible and the surrounding field of Faba Beans.


Raeanne combining Oats with her JD - still very hard work with longer hours and a few breakdowns along the way - but satisfying in the end.  This is my real job that currently pays the bills while developing the orchard:) Video 34 sec.


We are obviously getting more professional ( or experienced) in our design planning as looking at plans for Phase 3 expansion of Haskaps and a few rows of Saskatoons--oops-no this is the one where looking at adding LOTS more Saskatoons!  We did change the south rows for almost north & south both for better matching ditch and lay of the land but also better for rows and sunlight!


Mother Nature threw an early snow at us on October 8th.  Luckily it went away so we could finish combining and lots of fall work.   As I'm on top of bins closing bin lids thought I'd take a pic looking across Phase 1 & 2.


Started cutting in rows for phase 3 and the dang snow made it a black and white project but we got it done! Quite a concept rototilling snow!

Nov 3rd and preparations for Phase 3 of the Haskap orchard and a few rows of Saskatoons for outer edge windbreaks are part of the plan for spring!

Nice straight rows of stubble only helped to show the meanderings of the tractor driver. But a later Google Earth satellite pic shows most were pretty straight.


Murray did an awesome job developing Renouf Farms business cards!  Whiz on the computer. 


Nice business cards for Flatlands Paintball too.

Wow! Has another year flown by already! See you next year!!


whats new
Still Under Construction


How to find us!


logo Renouf
Renouf Farms, Melfort, Saskatchewan.
We also have a Paintball business
for you to enjoy - see it here!

Tags to find us by: Haskap, Honeyberries, polyphenols, healthy, antioxidants, haskap wine, haskap jam, haskap sorbet, haskap mead, haskap puree, dried haskap, renouf farms, renouf orchard, you pick, u-pic, raspberry, Saskatoon berries, saskatoon you-pick, haskap varieties, haskap beauty, haskap beast, haskap aurora, haskap blizzard, haskap honey bee, haskap borealis, renouf haskap, fresh berries, frozen berries, haskap indigo gem, haskap syrup, sea buckthorn, sea buckthorn berries, coming soon berries,

Copyright (c) 2016 Flatlands Paintball  and (c) 2021 Renouf Farms Ltd Melfort  SK   306-921-8265