A few years ago my husband Dean came home with a couple Goji berry seeds. Daryl, a friend of Dean’s, had ordered the seeds online and gave Dean some to plant. Daryl has been very health conscious for many years and his enthusiasm and need for healthy food was rubbing off onto Dean. Dean was excited for the chance to grow a “Superfood” and start living a healthier lifestyle. With much excitement they both planted their seeds in little pots in the house. It was late winter and the right time to start indoor planting. All the seeds sprouted and started to grow a little bit. Once it was spring, the guys transplanted the seedlings outside in their yards.
There was much discussion about how the Goji berries would be planted. There was also concern about the Goji berry trees growing in our harsh Canadian weather, but the guys were determined to try. Goji berry trees usually grow in China and our weather is very different. After some research, it was decided where the trees would be planted to have maximum growing potential. Dean planted his trees in two different spots to test which area would be better. Daryl lives about 20 minutes away from us and has very similar soil as we have in our yard. He planted a row beside the stream that flowed through his yard.
The first few weeks Daryl and Dean gave each other constant updates of the trees. It was so cute listening to grown men talk about a new leaf sprouting on their Goji trees. They would stop over and check out each other’s trees. That first season the Goji trees were just a single twig and some leaves. I definitely wouldn’t have categorized the twigs as trees, but seeing the excitement these “trees” gave Dean and Daryl, I played along and called them trees also.
The fall weather was approaching and Daryl and Dean were discussing how to winterize the Goji trees. They both decided covering them with something would protect them from the cold winter we’d be getting. Dean cut off the bottoms of some 5 gallon pails and pushed the pails around his trees as a wind break. He also wrapped the trees with burlap. Daryl wrapped his trees with burlap also and surrounded them with small pieces of wood.
Winter was typical for Manitoba, cold and lots of snow. Dean and Daryl patiently waited for spring and talked about the first crop of Goji berries the trees would produce. There was talk of eating them fresh off the trees and drying the berries for tea. The excitement about having a Superfood growing in their back yards was contagious. Myself and Daryl’s wife got caught up in that excitement. We were looking forward to the health benefits of the berries.
Spring finally arrived and both men were out uncovering the Goji trees and getting them ready for the season. Within a few weeks Dean noticed buds and new leaves starting to grow. Daryl didn’t see anything. No new leaves or buds of any kind. As summer approached Dean’s trees had grown quite a bit and Daryl’s were dead.
It was such a disappointment for Daryl. We’re not sure why his trees died and Dean’s didn’t considering both men did exactly the same thing to their trees.
That first crop of Goji berries yielded about seven berries. It wasn’t enough to make tea but there was enough to have a taste of fresh Goji berries. Dean made sure to share some berries with Daryl.
Over the summer Dean’s trees sprouted some new shoots. In the fall Daryl stopped by to dig up a few of Dean’s Goji tree shoots and give it another try. He dug up quite a bit of dirt surrounding the shoots so it wouldn’t be shocked and not take root.
Unfortunately the trees didn’t grow for Daryl once again. He just gave up on the idea of having Goji trees. Dean’s trees have grown and spread over these past six years. This year seems to be a bumper crop for Goji berries. The plan is to dry out the berries and make tea. Of course we’ll invite Daryl over for a cup of Goji berry tea considering it was his idea to plant the Superfood, Goji trees.
Goji Berry Tea
- Add 1 tablespoon of dried Goji berries in a teapot or infuser.
- Bring 2 cups of water to boil.
- Pour the hot water over the dried berries.
- Allow the mixture to steep for 3-4 minutes, longer if you want a stronger tea.
- Remove the infuser of Goji berries and serve tea hot.
- Add honey if desired.