How Rainfast Are Your Applications?

POSTED IN Uncategorized ON 7/22/2016

Growers can take steps to take care of their bushes, but how rainfast are your efforts?

Screen Shot 2016-07-22 at 11.25.26 AMAs growers know, pesticides are a double-edged sword. One wants to provide as much good fruit as possible to customers (who among us likes to eat damaged fruit?) while, at the same time, assuring that the fruit is healthy for consumption. Of course this is not a simple calculation. Atmospheric conditions, including rain, wind and temperatures need to be factored in – a factoring that sometimes needs occur daily as the weather changes.

Then there are the variables for different types of treatments, because not all treatments have the same characteristics regarding weather. And, off course, application methods must be considered, a challenge even for the most experienced.

So here are two resources that you may find helpful in your planning:

Rainfast Characteristics of Insecticides on Fruit from John Wise, Michigan State University Extension, Department of Entomology

Minimum Interval From Application to Rainfall for Post Herbicides provided by Sims Fertilizer and Chemical, Osborne, KS

Have You Figured Out When to Water?

POSTED IN For Growers ON 7/22/2016

It’s Friday, and that means its the day each week when I will water the office plants. Why on Fridays?  Why not?  Of course, I am not building a commercial food empire with the window full of greenery here.

How about you? Do you have a plan for when to irrigate your saskatoons? What is your plan based on?

thumbMichigan State University/Purdue Extension Irrigation Educator highlights resources available for fine tuning your irrigation schedule.

When should you start irrigation?

How much water should you add? 

What resources are available to help decide when and how to water?  

Check out this article to see how you might tune up your irrigation schedule and improve your harvest:



How to Save More Berries From The Birds

POSTED IN For Growers ON 7/14/2016

Struggling with bird management? Kathy Heidenreich of Cornell University published an article a

Research Support Specialist/Plant Pathologist New York State Agricultural Experiment Station-Cornell University Department of Plant Pathology

Cathy Heidenreich, Research Support Specialist/Plant Pathologist
New York State Agricultural Experiment Station-Cornell University
Department of Plant Pathology

few years ago that many saskatoon growers may find helpful. This document lists and review common fruit eating birds as well as a variety of bird management tactics. The goal is to reduce loss in commercial fruit fields while avoiding any sort of injury to the birds.

Too see the full article go to Bye Bye Birdie – Cornell

“Novel Berry Crops” Grant for MSU Research

POSTED IN Uncategorized ON 7/3/2016

Saskatoon berries, goji berries, honeyberries, aronia berries — unfamiliar names to Michigan growers and consumers, but perhaps not for long. Michigan State University is about to launch studies on these novel berry crops, looking for the best varieties of these berries for the state’s climate, soils and marketing opportunities.

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Saskatoon berries

Saskatoons are the best known of these crops in North America, with over two million pounds produced annually in Canada. The various named varieties were derived from wild selections of Amelanchier alnifolia, a shrub native to several western states and Canadian provinces.

Saskatoons are closely related to the Juneberry or Serviceberry of eastern North America. They look very much like blueberries in appearance, but their flavor is uniquely different (some call it sweet nutty almond). Unlike blueberries that can only be grown on acidic soils, saskatoon berries can tolerate a wider range of soils in the neutral to alkaline range.

Saskatoons ripen earlier than most blueberries and are excellent eaten fresh or in pies, jellies, jams, syrups and wine. Human health benefits are associated with their high contents of phenolics, flavonols and anthocyanins.

Michigan currently is the leading producer of saskatoons in the United States, even though there are fewer than 20 acres in full production in the state.

Dr. Erwin "Duke" Elsner, PhD

Erwin “Duke” Elsner, PhD

About as many more acres will be reaching productive age in a short time. A team of Michigan State University campusfaculty and field staff recently received grant funding for a saskatoon berry variety trial to be conducted at four sites in the state. The sites are at Traverse City, East Lansing at the MSU Horticulture Teaching and Research Farm, Bay Mills in Chippewa County and the Upper Peninsula Research and Extension Center in Alger County.

Six promising varieties will be tested at each site. Each of these sites also will have a small variety trial of eight honeyberry, five goji berry and two aronia berry varieties. All of these berry crops are known to be very cold tolerant, so we are expecting good survival and fruiting almost anywhere in Michigan.



Honeyberries (Lonicera caerulea), also known as haskaps, are native to northern Europe, Asia and North America.

Plants are adapted to many soils and produce small, elongated blue berries that are typically sweet and mild. Their flavor lies somewhere between blueberries and raspberries.

Goji berries

Goji berries


Goji is a traditional Chinese berry that is increasingly in demand globally for perceived medicinal properties. This fruit is a member of the Solanaceae family and it has a mild tomato-like flavor.

Demand in the U.S. and globally has exploded because of perceived health benefits.


Aronia/Black Chokeberry

Aronia or black chokeberry (Aronia melanocarpa) is a Rosaceae species native to North America and Europe. It is widely grown in Eastern Europe and Russia. The fruit primarily is used for juice, but blended with juice from other less astringent fruits. Aronia has a very high anti-oxidant content.

Saskatoon berries soon will be ripening in the Grand Traverse region. Listings of growers offering U-pick berries and other saskatoon products can be found in the calendar of events page of the Saskatoon Berry Institute of North America’s web site:

Erwin “Duke” Elsner is a small fruit educator for the Grand Traverse County MSU Extension.

To see this article on The Record Eagle website regarding the Novel berry Crops grant, go to:

The Saskatoon Berries Are Here!

POSTED IN Uncategorized ON 7/1/2016

Fresh 2016 Saskatoon Berries are now available in northern Michigan, for a limited time only. The season is expected to last 2-3 weeks. Don’t miss out!

You can  find fresh berries at both of Oleson’s Food Markets (Traverse City locations only), The Village Markets in Elk Rapids and Rapid City as well as Evergreen Market on US 31 north of Acme.

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You can also buy fresh saskatoons at the Elk Rapids Farmers Market on Friday mornings for the next couple of weeks, along with saskatoon jam and pie fillings.

U-Pick is now available at Jacob’s Farm, The Saskatoon Berry Patch and Saskatoon Michigan. Locations and hours can be viewed at our Events page at: Other locations will be added as we learn of them.

Fresh berries are great to eat by the handful as well as on cereal and ice cream. They are also a great baking and jamming fruit.

There is really nothing else quite like a saskatoon berry. They look rather like blueberries, but they are much more closely associated with apples. They have a nutty almond-like flavor, and they are packed with nutrients as well as fiber, protein and antioxidants.

You can buy saskatoon berries now and freeze them, but you cannot buy them fresh after about the end of the month. This fruit is locally grown, but cannot grow in Mexico or southern California, so it is a summer only fruit. Don’t hesitate. Come to one of the locations shown above or visit other businesses or wild bushes and get yours today!