By Jenny Neyman
“Everybody’s baby is the best-looking baby, but ours really is,” said Brian Olson, in typical proud-papa fashion.
Olson can rattle off a list of his progeny’s admirable qualities that would make any parent proud: Hardy, resilient, easygoing, productive and exceptionally healthy with ample prospects for an impressive future.
Then the list takes a turn for the less typical, clearly not referencing offspring of the human variety: fast-growing, thorn-free, easily pickable, delicious and having the potential to revolutionize the agricultural industry in Alaska.
That’s a big reputation for the little-heard-of berry Olson and his wife, Laurie, have been cultivating at their farm, Alaska Berries, on West Poppy Lane off Kalifornsky Beach Road. But from the six years Olson has been researching, propagating and growing the berry, Olson is absolutely certain every one of those qualities, and then some, are true.
“The experimental phase was 2008 and 2009,” Olson said. “By 2010 we knew we had an Alaska-
hardy, relatively disease-free and insect-free plant that was doing very well for us. And the flavor of the fruit was phenomenal. So we knew that we were on to something, that this is going to eventually surpass the blueberry in Alaska as far as a commercial crop goes. It is a super berry.”
Olson has been growing haskap berries, and recently announced his intention to trademark the genetic strains he’s developing, put them into commercial production and also sell the plants to his fellow Alaska agriculturists.