Less common fruit for the Midwest - perhaps Goumi or Goji berries?

I am looking to try some new fruit types in Zone 5 (either in ground or in pots). My goal is to grow something that doesn’t required spraying or fighting a superior adversary (plum curculio). I tried Honeyberries - they turned out to be very sour and not particularly flavorful. Goal would be something for fresh eating primarily, maybe pies or jam too. I am going to give Jujubes a shot and am thinking of either Goumi or Goji berries. Does anyone have experience with either of these? If so, any recommendations of varieties. If not either of these berries is there something else I am missing? Thanks!

If I had a choice of those two, goumi.

I have a Goumi which I purchased from Burnt Ridge Nursery a number of years ago. This summer it had a significant number of berries. I sampled the fruit throughout the season and was quite disappointed in the flavor. It was somewhat astringent and sour with a large seed relative to the small fruit size. I did not try cooking but absolutely would not recommend it for fresh eating.

Any of the brambles might work. Blackberry and raspberry do well in zone 5 and are fairly easy to grow. They also make great pie and jam! I have started growing currants, but so far they are not big producers. I live in 5 and garden in clay!

Got them both and I like the goumi much better. Production is 100 times as much for me. Goumi are astringent until dead ripe. I personally don’t mind them once they turn red and start to soften.

Get a good mulberry. It’s fruit are much better and it produces an easier to eat fruit.


if you want something less common for zone 5 and easy to grow and fruit, could try a potted fig.

Many fruits that are not damaged by insects or diseases have some protection in them. They are bitter, astringent or sour, which makes them less attractive, but when they ripe they are

Derek, you might like service berries. They do well in my zone 5 with some added irrigation, which may not be necessary in your z5 depending upon your typical rainfall. They are fairly no-care here, no sprays for bugs or rot. The deer and rabbits will eat them, but not sure if that isn’t true for anything that produces fruit. Taste wise they do vary some year to year but are a reliable producer. They are usually quite sweet, and range from nearly no taste to a fairly good taste. I have not yet figured out what is causing that variation. They look very much like blueberries, but with a bit more acid and less of that blueberry taste.

You can likely buy named varieties as well as just “common” ones. Although I started out with both, it is the common ones that have survived and produced for me.

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I appreciate everyone’s responses. It doesn’t sound like there is a great undiscovered fruit out there (and I already have the figs/brambles covered). I may try the mulberry route. Scott or others, are there any particular mulberries varieties that you would recommend? I assume I will need to protect them again birds…

I don’t have any personal experience with goumi or goji, a friend has a goumi and likes it as it produces a crop quite early in the season.
Illinois Everbearing is the gold standard for hardy mulbs, as long as you have the space for it. Serviceberry is a great suggestion, and well adated to your region. Hardy kiwi and arctic kiwi are both worth trying, artic kiwi are less rampant and quicker to bear. OGW is a good source for both. Persimmon, pawpaw are other options. I am really liking aronia, but these aren’t to most folks’ taste for fresh eating. But highly nutritional and pest free. I also liked my golden autumn olive that I harvested this year, but fruit size is pretty small (but bigger than the species). Ribes species are also quick to bear, but again these fruit are more suited to processing/cooking.