goji berry

Goji Berry, Lycium chinense

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Approx: 30 seeds

Fresh Goji berries are a vibrant red-orange and are comparable to currants in shape and size. They have a tangy yet sweet flavor like a cross between a cranberry and a cherry. Goji berries have a juicy texture and no noticeable seeds. The berries are delicate and must be picked by hand.

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Goji berries are native to China, though due to changes in soil composition through the Industrial Revolution in its native country, the berries do not grow as well as in other areas in eastern Asia. The Himalayas, Mongolia and Tibet produce most of the world’s Goji berries. Few farmers in the US and New Zealand grow Goji berries; fresh berries can be found in limited quantities at farmers markets. The small brightly-colored berries are also known as ‘Wolfberries’. The English name “Goji” is likely derived from the Mandarin Chinese Gouqi (pronounced goo-chee).

Days to Germination: 7-14 days
Days to Maturity: 2 years
Full Sun/ Part Sun
Height: 120-144 inches
Spread: 60-84 inches

Goji berry requires lots of direct sun, but can be sensitive to excessive heat. If growing in higher zones, select a location with somewhat filtered light. Goji can be grown in many types of soil, including those with high clay or sand content.

Goji berries contain the third highest amount of antioxidants of all the foods in the world. Along with the ability to fight free radicals in the body, Goji berries have five-hundred times more vitamin C than oranges, more iron than spinach and more beta-carotene than carrots. Though it is rare in a fruit, Goji berries also contain vitamin E. The Asian berries contain more protein than whole wheat. Goji berries contain a lipid, or fatty acid, called beta-sitosterol which has been shown to decrease the size of overgrown (namely cancerous) cells and decreases the absorption of LDL cholesterol (known as the “bad” cholesterol). Goji berries contain 18 amino acids, the building blocks for protein, including the 8 amino acids that are essential for life.

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