Farm Tour Announcement – Come See How Saskatoons Grow

POSTED IN For Consumers, For Growers, For Members ON 5/1/2014

Saskatoon Berry Farm Tour 2014

 

The agenda for the day is as follows:

8:30 AM                Meet at The Northwest Michigan Horticultural Research Station

(6686 S Center Hwy, Traverse City, MI 49684)

Reserve Your Lunch

8:45 AM                 Leave for first stop

9:00 AM                 Arrive at Rick Billings Farm (Harry’s Road)

FOCUS: 2 year old plantings of blueberries and saskatoons

10:00 AM              Leave for next stop

10:15 AM              Arrive at Jacob’s Farm (M-72)

FOCUS: 5 year old plantings of saskatoons And hascaps

11:00 AM              Leave for next stop

11:30 AM              Arrive at The Northwest Michigan Horticultural Research Station for Lunch

                               Tour of saskatoon research plot

                               Discussion of future research needs

                               Update on 2014 pest control measures

                               Presentation on the Grow Benzie incubator kitchen

Overview of The Saskatoon Berry Institute of North America

 1:00 PM                Leave for next stop

1:45 PM                 Arrive at Jim Dixon Farm (Williamsburg area)

FOCUS: 3 year old plantings of saskatoons

2:30 PM                 Leave for next stop

3:00 PM                 Arrive at Steve DuCheney Farm/Nursery (Williamsburg area)

FOCUS: 3 year old plantings of saskatoons

Discussion on propagation of saskatoons and meeting future plant needs.

4:00 PM                 Final comments and Q & A

4:15 PM                 Head home or back to station

NOTES:

Car pool if possible to minimize the number of vehicles. 

To register for the tour, call Steve Fouch at 231-715-6022. 

We will need a final number by Wednesday, June 4.  

The $10.00 fee is payable at the door, when arriving at the Research station.  

Make checks payable to:  Saskatoon Berry Institute of North America. 

Jeremy Conaway Facilitates Strategic Intent Retreat

POSTED IN For Consumers, For Growers, For Members ON 4/3/2014

After a year of great progress on goals, The Saskatoon Berry Institute of North America held a Strategic Intent Retreat on March 28th, 2014 to develop a clear view of where the organization intends to be in 2017 vis-a-vis efforts and accomplishments.  The Institute’s board and members worked together, considering the reflections of guests and speakers, to identify their potential and challenges regarding both the saskatoon berry industry and the Institute’s role.

The event was facilitated by Jeremy Conaway, nationally known retreat facilitator and keynote speaker. Mr. Conaway’s firm, RECON Intelligence Services, will continue to work with the Institute to hone their Strategic Intent statement and track their progress.

Saskatoon berries (Amelanchier alnifolia), also known as serviceberry, shadbush and juneberry, are grown in a variety of northern states and Canadian provinces. They are a very healthy and tasty fruit, though they are not yet widely known to the general population.

Issues raised at the retreat include maximizing plant health, farming best practices, working together on market development, ways to handle commercial orders which are larger than any one farm can currently fill, and taking into consideration many commonly accepted perspectives on local and sustainable farming.

Institute Introduced at 2014 Small Farm Conference

POSTED IN For Consumers, For Growers, For Members ON 4/3/2014

Screen Shot 2014-02-18 at 4.10.14 PM

The Saskatoon Berry Institute of North America greeted many attendees at the 2014 Small Farm Conference with their table of information and samples.  Special thanks to AJ MacArthur and Jim Dixon for staffing the table. Steve DuCheney gave out lots of samples of fruit filling.

Saskatoon berries at NW MI O&V Show

POSTED IN For Growers, For Members ON 12/31/2013

There will be a half-day breakout session dedicated to Saskatoon berries at the 2014 Northwest Michigan Orchard & Vineyard Show. The session, scheduled for Wednesday, January 15th, from 9:00 AM – 12:00 PM at the Grand Traverse Resort and Spa in Williamsburg, MI, Room: Peninsula A, is slated to cover the following topics:

  • What are Saskatoon Berries?
  • Meet the Saskatoon Berry Institute of North America
  • Rust Diseases of Saskatoons
  • Fruit Infesting Insects of Saskatoon Berries
  • Grower Open Discussion – Production Challenges
  • Pesticide Recommendations and Use Strategies
  • Fill Out Pesticide Recertification Credits (2 credits)

The full Show, which runs January 14th & 15th, 2014, will also highlight cherries and grapes as well as other orchard and vineyard crops, and will include other break out sessions and a trade show. The registration fee, good for both days, is $30/person. The Registration Desk opens at 8:00 AM, including coffee and rolls in the Exhibit hall. Come join us for the most complete and concise presentation on Saskatoon berries available.    

Annual Meeting Announced!

POSTED IN For Members ON 12/31/2013

The Saskatoon Berry Institute of North America announces that the Annual Meeting of Institute members (as well as their guests and other interested parties) is Thursday, January 16th, 2014 at Ranch Rudolph (6841 Brown Bridge Rd, Traverse City, MI 49696).

The schedule is as follows:

Pre-meeting dinner 6:00 – 7:00 PM (optional)

  • Dinner cost is $22 per person, which includes all gratuities
  • Menu includes: Spiral Ham & Baked Chicken, Twice Baked Potato, Vegetable, House Salad & Rolls, Dessert & Beverage
  • Attendees must RSVP to Brenda Ricksgers (231.331.4011) and submit payment by check to: SBINA, 4236 Ricksgers Rd, Alden, MI 49612, before January 13th.

Meeting 7:00 PM – (probably about 9:00, depending on the agenda and discusion), including:

  • Election for 2 board positions
  • Report of progress in the past year
  • Discussion of goals and plans for coming year

 

Saskatoons Spark Significant Sparty Stimulation

POSTED IN For Consumers, For Growers, For Members ON 11/13/2013

Screen Shot 2013-11-13 at 12.41.57 PMAutumn Fest, an annual event held on the Michigan State University campus, occurred this year on Saturday, November 2nd, and The Saskatoon Berry Institute of North America was there. Sparty appears to indicate that he selected saskatoons as the number one entry at the Autumn Fest, though no on witnessed his taste test.

This was a great opportunity to showcase produce and processing technologies for fans of MSU and also The University of Michigan, as they apparently had a common event later that afternoon. Many who came to the table had not previously heard of saskatoons, and were thankful to have been introduced. In the picture below you can see some of the crowd that came over to investigate.

Screen Shot 2013-11-13 at 12.51.54 PM

As shown below, SBINA distributed dried saskatoon berries (in plastic cups), saskatoon jam on crackers (donated by AJ’s berry Farm), and a really tasty dip made with saskatoons and cream cheese (from Saskatoon Michigan).

Screen Shot 2013-11-13 at 12.44.21 PM

Our thanks to Bob and Brenda Ricksgers and Duke Elsner for staffing the booth.

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If you were there, please let us know what you thought.

What’s Happening On The Back End of The Saskatoon Berry Harvesting Machine?

POSTED IN For Consumers, For Growers, For Members ON 11/8/2013

This video shows how the berries are collected. The bushes are not harmed, and will be bigger have even more berries next year.

 

It Has Been A Good Year For Saskatoon Berry Harvest!

POSTED IN For Growers, For Members ON 11/8/2013

Many mature plants had a good production in 2013. In fact, many producers through the US and Canada have very low inventory of dried and frozen berries coming into the winter months. We look forward to farms with younger bushes joining us in the coming year or two,  boosting overall production of saskatoon berries. In fact, we have some distribution channels that would be more open to us when we succeed in significantly increasing production. If you have a farm with room for hundreds or thousands of plants, and you want to get in on this hardy fruit, please contact us. We are also cheering on households that have just a few bushes. Please let us know about your 2013 experiences with growing and using your saskatoon berries. In this post we want to share a few pictures of bushes with berries, and a yummy handful of ripe berries.

A bush, mid-season

berries on plants 9

A close up of a branch

berries on plants 4

A handful of hand-picked berries

berries in hand

Institute Meeting Reminder

POSTED IN For Members ON 9/13/2013

Institute members, here is a reminder that our September meeting is scheduled for Thursday, 9/19 at Acme Township Hall (6042 Acme Rd, Williamsburg, MI 49690), beginning at 6:30.

With the end of this year’s growing season we look forward to comparing notes and continuing our research and development activities.

MSU Team Visits AJ’s Berry Farm

POSTED IN For Consumers, For Growers, For Members ON 9/13/2013

AJ'sA team from MSU Product Center is heading to AJ’s Berry Farm on Tuesday, September 17th to take a tour and see some of the new ideas AJ has implemented.

This is their first visit to the greater Alpena area, and a well deserved destination. To learn more about AJ’s, go to: http://saskatoonberryinstitute.org/location/ajs-berry-farm/

Thanks AJ for introducing this group to saskatoons and your facilities. And thank you for feeding them in your barn/store.

Ed note: If you offer boxed take out, please let us know 😉