Q: Are huckleberries grown on farms? Current research says it is almost impossible to domesticate the wild huckleberry species but efforts are being made. Commercial huckleberry harvesters most likely don't pick their berries by hand, but most huckleberries are still grown in the wild (mostly in national parks). However, the Western Huckleberry and Bilberry Association is actively fostering the commercial development of huckleberry-based industries.
Q: How are huckleberries picked? Most huckleberries still seem to be picked by hand. The wild patches where they grow are reportedly hard to find and getting heavy machinery to them is not very practical. Some pickers use rakes or "rake boxes" to increase their hauls.
Q: Where do huckleberries grow? Huckleberries are native to the northwestern United States and Canada, growing from Wyoming west to Alaska, Washington, and Oregon. They also grow in Idaho and Montana. The require elevations of from 2,000 to 11,000 feet and reportedly thrive in acidic mountain soil.
Q: Can I grow my own huckleberries? Some people try to grow huckleberries in their gardens. The University of Idaho offers tips on growing huckleberries. However, they claim that commercial farming is not yet possible. One of the challenges is the fact that huckleberries may require 15 years of growth to reach full maturity. You can learn more about The University of Idaho's College of Agricultural and Life Sciences Sandpoint R & E Center on their Web site. The U.S. government also provides information about growing red huckleberries and information about growing evergreen huckleberries.
Q: Are there any government regulations for huckleberry production? There appears to be very little government regulation at this time. However, the State of Montana may be regulating huckleberry harvesting and huckleberry product manufacturing. There is generally little to no regulation for home made products, especially organic home made products that don't utilize dangerous chemicals and processes. The collection of sales taxes by retailers do not imply that any government regulations are in place.
Q: What do wild huckleberries taste like? The processed wild huckleberry products we have tasted are very sweet and rich. We have purchased raw wild huckelberries and have found they are tart. I have mixed wild huckleberries with ice cream and huckleberry honey to tone down the tartness. Some people may enjoy the fruit in its tart form.
Q: Is it dangerous to pick huckleberries? Danger is a relative term. Some huckleberry pickers do encounter bears. If you cannot find huckleberries in safe areas you may be better off buying huckleberries or huckleberry products. Also, at least some species of huckleberries resemble poisonous berries. If you cannot tell the difference you should seek help from experienced huckleberry harvesters.
Q: Which are the best sites to buy huckleberries and huckleberry products from? We are still just learning about huckleberries ourselves. However, based on my own extensive personal experience with Internet merchants, I have made a best guess at filtering out resellers and advertiser pages in our list of sellers. We do not necessarily endorse or recommend any particular huckleberry providers at this time. This is a cottage industry and each supplier may have different challenges to contend with.
Q: Will you link my huckleberry Web site? Although I cannot vouch for them, I am trying to be careful about which sites I link to. There are probably far more huckleberry sellers and manufacturers than I will ever know about. It is best to contact me first and ask if I will look at your Web site. I may not have time. I may decide not to link to you. I am only interested in linking to sites for people who actually harvest and sell the huckleberries directly. If you just buy and resell huckleberries or huckleberry products, I most likely won't link to you.
Q: What is the best way to promote my huckleberry business? Web business promotion begins with your Web site. If you cannot afford to buy your own domain name (you can get them for as little as $1 but a reasonable price range is $8 to $15), you are facing a much greater challenge than you understand. You don't need to include "huckleberry" in the domain name. But you need to have a shopping cart package so you can list individual products and let your visitors build up orders. You should also accept flexible payments (take checks or credit/debit cards). Give people a clear way to contact you (even if they have to get voice mail). Once you do that, sign up for Yahoo! Internet Marketing or Google AdWords and buy some advertising for your site. Start with a small advertising budget until you learn to write the best converting ads possible.
Q: Why don't you offer more technical information about identifying and picking huckleberries? So far I don't know enough to help you with that kind of information. If my girlfriend has her way, however, we'll eventually become expert huckleberry pickers. But don't hold your breath....
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