What About Juneberries?

POSTED IN For Consumers, For Growers, For Members ON 7/14/2014

Screen Shot 2014-07-14 at 3.21.36 PMThis morning’s NPR Morning Edition story “Saskawhat: A Novel Berry From Canada Takes Root On Michigan Farms” has been feeding a discussion about the the name(s) of the fruit of Amelanchier alnifolia, which this site often calls saskatoons, but describes in the “About Saskatoons” tab as having several common names, including Juneberries.

As far as this author is concerned, this fruit tastes great regardless of the label one affixes to it.

That said,  in an effort to address the various voices responding to the NPR story filed by Peter Payette of Interlochen Public Radio, I offer the following observations.

Wikipedia identifies 15 species of Amelanchier found in North America:

The same source notes that another species “Amelanchier lamarckii” is common in Europe. Botanists speculate that this European species originally came from Canada, but is not found there, in the wild.

Another name is Sarvisberry, similar to Serviceberry.

One might note that particular common names can be used for a variety of species, indicating that the common names are not necessarily species specific.

The species currently propogated in Northern Michigan, and covered in the NPR story, is Amelanchier alnifolia. The common name saskatoon berry is specific to Amelanchier alnifolia. On a different Wikipedia page, the following list of names are shown for Amelanchier alnifolia: saskatoonPacific serviceberrywestern serviceberryalder-leaf shadbushdwarf shadbushchuckley pear, or western juneberry, and pigeon berry. This list includes some names shown above, and some others as well.

Within the species Amelanchier alnifolia there are also cultivars, with variations in characteristics, allowing growers to choose what they perceive to be more desirable features such as soil and temperature compatibility as well as flavor and texture preferences. Cultivars affect many of us on a daily basis, from grocery store options of many fruits and vegetable to the colors or your favorite flowers and the shapes of leaves of bushes and trees. Some of the cultivars being harvested commercially in Michigan include: Thiessen, JB-30, Northline, Martin, and Smoky. These cultivars are not native to Michigan, though various Amelanchier species do grow wild, and are used in landscaping, in Michigan. Because cultivars represent preferences, there is no one right answer for everyone.

While not all environments can grow the fruit of Amelanchier alnifolia (as they require a specific number of days of below freezing weather – 90, I believe), provinces and states that grow Amelanchier alnifolia include:

Canada:

o Alberta (more commonly called saskatoons)
o British Columbia (more commonly called saskatoons)
o Manitoba (more commonly called saskatoons)
o Nova Scotia (more commonly called saskatoons)
o Ontario (more commonly called saskatoons)
o Quebec
o Saskatchewan (more commonly called saskatoons)

The United States of America:

o California
o Idaho (more commonly called saskatoons)
o Illinois
o Maine (more commonly called juneberries)
o Massachusetts (more commonly called juneberries)
o Michigan (more commonly called saskatoons)
o Minnesota (more commonly called juneberries)
o Montana (a variety of names)
o Nebraska
o New Hampshire
o New York (more commonly called juneberries)
o North Dakota (more commonly called juneberries)
o Oregon
o Pennsylvania
o Washington
o Wisconsin

In many locations there may be some confusion about the season of ripe fruit. In Michigan, for instance, the fruit ripens in July, but is not called Julyberry. In other locations, such as New York, the fruit can ripen in June, making Juneberry a very accurate description.

We continue to work on learning more about the variations in each of these locations, and welcome information from readers and other sources.

 

Tom’s Food Markets in Traverse City, MI now selling Saskatoons

POSTED IN For Consumers, For Growers, For Members ON 7/14/2014

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Four Tom’s Food Market locations in Traverse City, MI now carry saskatoon berries in their produce sections including: 738 Munson Ave, 1201 S. Division St, 6353 US 31 N (Williamsburg) and 13940 S West Bay Shore Dr.

Growers and fruit fans alike welcome Tom’s to the growing list of retail stores carrying fresh fruit.

Shoppers will want to make note of this addition, and avoid confusing them with blueberries, based on their size and color.

Saskatoons are a unique fruit, with a unique flavor and unique dietary benefits.

Saskatoon Berry Institute of North America members continue to develop products that may soon be available on store shelves throughout the year.

NPR’s Morning Edition Features Saskatoons

POSTED IN For Consumers, For Growers, For Members ON 7/14/2014

Screen Shot 2014-07-14 at 12.07.45 PMThis morning, Monday, July 14th, NPR’s Morning Edition broadcast, coast-to-coast, included a story about the developing saskatoon berry industry in Northern Michigan. You can read and/or hear the story on the NPR website: http://www.npr.org/blogs/thesalt/2014/07/14/330694223/saskawhat-a-novel-berry-from-canada-takes-root-on-michigan-farms Institute members report receiving related contacts within hours of the story airing. Kudos to the pioneers who are bringing this industry to fruition, and our thanks to those in the news media who are getting the word out.

Announcing The Great Saskatoon Search Contest!

POSTED IN For Consumers, For Members ON 7/8/2014

berries in handWe are hearing that saskatoons are showing up in quite a variety of places, from U-Pick to Roadside stands to Farm Markets to grocery stores to restaurants in 2014!

Can you help us find the saskatoons?

The Great Saskatoon Search Contest begins here and now. If you see saskatoons at a business, simply take a picture of their product and/or display (smart phones may be easiest, but are not required), and post it on the SBINA Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/Saskatoonberryinstituteofnorthamerica) with the name of the company where you saw them, and general location.

No purchase necessary, though buying saskatoons, fresh or in products and dishes, is encouraged.

We will all enjoy seeing what you can find. On August 12th we will pick a random winner, and the prize is a jar of saskatoon jam for you to pick up at a nearby SBINA member location. Members and their families are encouraged to participate, though you all will understand that you are not eligible for the prize.

Let the Search begin!

Moomers Offers Saskatoon Ice Cream

POSTED IN For Consumers, For Growers, For Members ON 7/4/2014

Jon Plummer reports that Moomers Homemade Ice Cream http://www.moomers.com, voted America’s Best Scoop on ABC’s Good Morning America, has a tub of saskatoon ice cream in their Long Lake Rd store! You may not see it on the menu, and it is not in the display case, but if you ask for it, the staff at Moomers will serve it up until the tub is gone. Thank you, Moomers, for creating such a tasty sasaktoon treat!

WTCM-FM Interviews Steve DuCheney

POSTED IN For Consumers, For Growers, For Members ON 6/27/2014

When you listen to a morning show on the radio, you want entertainment and wake-me-up content, right? On Monday, June 9, 2014, Jack O’Malley and Jamie Kramer sliced and diced the aura of saskatoons. The attached video (no, you cannot watch the radio show, but we threw in some graphics) is the full length interview, which covers: *What are saskatoon berries? *Are saskatoon berries a healthy choice? *Where can you get saskatoon berries in Northern Michigan? *Can Saskatoon Steve DuCheney keep up with professional interviewers from the entertainment industry? Well, text cannot adequately tell the story. Click below to hear for yourself.

Farm Tour a Success

POSTED IN For Consumers, For Growers, For Members ON 6/9/2014

With plantings of various ages, several approaches to pruning and informative presentations, along with perfect weather, the 2014 Farm Tour has been declared a success. IMG_2562   Saturday, June 7th will long be remembered as a day to learn about growing and using saskatoons.  Many thanks to Cherry Capital Foods and Saskatoon Michigan for donating saskatoon berry products to sample! IMG_2567   Thank you also to the various media outlets that covered the Farm Tour. In Northern Michigan there are a variety of grocers that are planning to have saskatoons in their produce departments when the crop comes in.  We encourage all to keep their eyes open, starting in about mid-July, and going through mid-August.  If you have not yet tried saskatoons, this will be a great opportunity to be introduced. And if you could not get enough of the fruit over the last couple of years, this will be a great time to stock up, but remember, shelf life is about 10 days. No fears. Saskatoon berries freeze well, and can be preserved in a variety of recipes. photo 1 Special thanks for Duke Elsner of Michigan State University Extension and Lisa Richter Manrow of Grow Benzie’s Incubator Kitchen for your lunchtime  presentations!  

Peter Payette Reports On Saskatoons

POSTED IN For Consumers, For Growers, For Members ON 6/6/2014

Screen Shot 2014-06-06 at 10.03.09 AMPeter Payette,  News Director at Interlochen Public Radio, reported on saskatoon berries on Wednesday, June 4, 2014. You can read the text of his report at: http://interlochenpublicradio.org/post/new-berry-town-0 or listen to the story online at that same URL.

Sasakatoon bushes are blooming!

POSTED IN For Consumers, For Growers, For Members ON 5/29/2014

Saskatoons In Bloom, May 23, 2014 002The saskatoon bushes are blooming! While many farms will see a weather-related harvest delay of a couple of weeks compared to last year, many should have berries by mid-July. As each member U-Pick location learns more, we will post their open hours on our calendar, where you can also find location information and mapping.

May 2014 Board Meeting Date Announced

POSTED IN For Members ON 5/5/2014

The Board of Directors of the Saskatoon Berry Institute of North America will meet on Thursday, May 15th, 2014 at 6:30 at Acme Township Hall, 6042 Acme Rd, Williamsburg, MI 49690.

Members of the Institute and other interested parties are welcome to attend.