Institute Introduced at 2014 Small Farm Conference

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

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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.    

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.

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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).

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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

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 😉

Saskatoon Berries Introduced to Weight Watchers

POSTED IN For Consumers, For Growers, For Members ON 7/10/2013

ed. note: Weight Watchers does not endorse any one fruit product, so this is not about Weight Watchers endorsing saskatoon berries. However, Weight Watchers does encourage the consumption of fruit as a key part of a healthy diet, and many Weight Watchers members are on the lookout for new fruit options. What follows  is an account of events and discussions that occurred, not an endorsement.

 

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Steve DuCheney, of Saskatoon Michigan Farm & Nursery, reports:

I had the pleasure of meeting Chef Isabella, a recipe creator for Weight Watchers, and the personal chef to Florine Mark, President and CEO of WW Group, Inc. on Monday evening, July 8th, at a cooking demo at the Traverse City Weight Watchers. The demo was free and open to the public. Having never had any exposure to Weight Watchers, I must say that my misconceived perception of their bland, tasteless food choices was totally wrong. Chef Isabella had many great grilling tips to offer, as well as several wonderful recipes, one of which she prepared and served that was full of robust flavor and healthy as well. (see recipe, below) Chef Isabella was very energetic and informative. If you have the opportunity to see her at one of the Weight Watchers cooking demos, you won’t be disappointed. I also took advantage of the opportunity to introduce her to saskatoon berries, which she seemed very excited to try. Enough so, that she visited our Saskatoon farm the following day to learn more of her new found fruit.

photo I enjoyed her visit and learning more about her culinary skills as well. I would have to say that I believe she feels there is definitely a place in the market for this healthy, flavorful fruit. I look forward to meeting with her again!!

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Whether or not you are trying to loose weight, you can learn more about Chef Isabella, and see some of her yummy recipes, at: http://askflorine.com/chef-isabella/

P.S. The berry pickin’s are great right now! Come on out.

ed. note (2): Several Weight Watchers staff and members tried saskatoon berries and, to a person, reported that they tasted great. Their opinions are, of course, their own, and not an endorsement of the organization. As a bonus for those who are weight conscious, You Pick provides both a pleasant calorie burning activity and great fruit to eat. For those who are less concerned about their weight, this website includes some awesome recipes to supplement the consumption of the raw fruit. To see more, read on.

Say ‘Summer’ With Saskatoons in Traverse City

POSTED IN For Consumers, For Growers, For Members ON 7/1/2013

On June 27, 2013 The Traverse City Record Eagle ran an article entitled Say ‘Summer’ With Saskatoons in Traverse City. This article included comments from some of our members about growing and using saskatoon berries, as well as You Pick information. To see the article, go to: http://record-eagle.com/features/x2113335802/Say-Summer-With-Saskatoons-in-Traverse-City

Saskatoon Berry Production Manual

POSTED IN For Growers ON 6/18/2013

This spring (2013) the Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development Publication Office issued the image descriptionSaskatoon Berry Production Manual. Growers may be interested in this resource for plant care tips. You can find an expanded description and ordering instructions at: http://www1.agric.gov.ab.ca/$Department/deptdocs.nsf/all/agdex14362

What is on these leaves?

POSTED IN For Growers, For Members ON 5/28/2013

Brad Reddekopp, of Hazelton BC, sent the picture shown below, reporting:

Subject: White fuzzy growths on Saskatoon leaves

This has to do with wild Saskatoon berry bushes in north-west British Columbia. This year, I’ve noticed some strange, fuzzy white growths on the leaves and I’m wondering what they are.

Discussion ensued on Facebook before his submission to the Institute, suggesting spider mites or larval cocoons.

Our resident specialist, Erwin “Duke” Elsner, Small Fruit Educator with Michigan State University Extension, responded with:

Hi Brad,

I can’t tell for sure what you are seeing on the Saskatoon leaves, especially since I am only familiar with what infests them in Michigan, but…

Based on many years of investigating leaf deformities on many types of plants, I suspect the causal organism to be a small gall midge or gall wasp.  My hunch is a gall midge, because the growths look to have a natural opening which will later allow the insects to escape from the gall (gall wasps can chew their way out of galls, so they usually do not have a pre-made escape route).

These sorts of insects are often just curiosities, often having no significance to the growth of the plant.

–Duke Elsner

If anyone else has a good idea what this is, please let us all know.

Thank you for asking Brad. We do support wild varieties too.

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