Saskatoon Michigan Farm and Fruit Announces U-Pick option

POSTED IN For Consumers ON 6/29/2015

Saskatoon MI Logo 4-color more distressedSaskatoon Michigan Farm and Fruit, of Williamsburg, MI, announces that they expect saskatoon berries, read to pick, by Saturday, July 4th.

While they do not have a schedule for U-Pick, interested fruit fans can call (231) 360-0311 to schedule a U-Pick appointment.

Fruit is expected to last for 2-3 weeks after the 4th.

The Saskatoon Berry Patch Announces U-Pick Hours for 2015!

POSTED IN For Consumers ON 6/26/2015

The Saskatoon Berry Patch, in Williamsburg, MI, announces U-Pick Hours beginning on July 8th, running Wednesday – Saturday for about 3 weeks, weather permitting.

For location information, go to:

Normal hours will be 8:00 AM – 1:00 AM and 3:00 PM – 6:00 PM.

For schedule updates or questions regarding special circumstances, call 231-938-1776.

Saskatoon Berries Are On The Way!

POSTED IN For Consumers ON 6/24/2015

Depending on your location, saskatoon berries will be ready to pick sometime in the next few weeks. Most farms will be ready to pick sometime in the next few weeks, and the season will be mostly over by the end of July. Check out our Directory tab and search in the area around your location to find U-Picks and Farm Markets near you where you can get fresh saskatoons and/or yummy saskatoon products.berries on plants 3

Saskatoon buds are coming along!

POSTED IN For Consumers, For Growers ON 5/14/2015

Many farms are reporting that they are seeing buds developing. Though several growing regions experienced colder than normal winters this past year, the saskatoons are coming on strong!  This cold-hearty fruit plant is so resilient!

Looks like we are headed for another great year! We will be watching as the plants mature, and look forward to eating those saskatoon berries, either fresh or processed.

Screen Shot 2015-05-14 at 9.45.34 AM

Saskatoon White Chocolate Mousse

(from Sunrise Berry Farms, Lethbridge, AB)

Dessert Crust:
  • 21 cream filled chocolate sandwich cookies
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted


  • 1 pouch Sunrise Berry Farms Saskatoon Berry Pie Filling
White Chocolate Mousse:
  • 1 cup cold milk
  • 1 pkg (32 g) instant white chocolate pudding mix
  • 1 envelope unflavored gelatin
  • 3 cups heavy whipping cream, divided
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
  1. In a food processor, process cookies until finely chopped.
  2. Add butter; cover and pulse until mixture begins to hold together.  Press onto the bottom and up the sides of an ungreased 10″ pie plate.  Bake at 350 degrees for 8 – 10 minutes.  Cool on rack.
  3. For mousse, in a large bowl, whisk milk and pudding mix for 2 minutes; set aside.
  4. In a small saucepan, sprinkle gelatin over 1/2 cup cream; let stand for 1 minute.  Heat over low heat, stirring until gelatin is completely dissolved.  Remove from heat.
  5. In a large mixing bowl, beat remaining cream until it begins to thicken.
  6. Add sugar and extract; beat until soft peaks form.  Gradually beat in gelatin mixture.
  7. Fold into pudding.  Refrigerate until slightly firm, about 30 minutes.
  8. Spread Saskatoon Berry Pie Filling into crust; top with mousse.  Refrigerate for 2 hours or until firm.  Garnish with chocolate curls if desired.

Yield:  8-10 servings.

Frozen saskatoons now in Grand Traverse area supermarkets!

POSTED IN For Consumers ON 10/30/2014

Thanks to the efforts of Farm to Freezer, a division of Goodwill Industries of Northern Michigan, bags of frozen saskatoons are now appearing in area supermarkets.

Beginning today, Oleson’s Food Stores  in the Traverse City area will carry saskatoons, ready to thaw and bake for all those yummy recipes you have been craving.

Shop-N-Save in Benzonia is also selling these berries.

Making this purchase helps so many people in so many ways!  What a great way to head into the cooler months!

Tom’s Food Markets Have Saskatoons from Cross Farms

POSTED IN For Consumers ON 8/4/2014

Tom's Food MarketsThe Traverse City Record-Eagle reported, over this past weekend, on saskatoons from Cross Farms being available at Tom’s Markets.

You can find the full story at:

Screen Shot 2014-08-04 at 10.31.32 AMThis is certainly a blessing for our region.  While the season has ended for many other farms in Northern Michigan, Cross Farms enjoys this harvest window due to their location on the north end of Leelanau County.

If you want fresh saskatoons, this may be the final week for 2014.


Saskatoon U-Picks in Michigan Near The End of the 2014 Season

POSTED IN For Consumers ON 7/16/2014

It’s been a great year, with good crops and exceptional interest. Saskatoon crops on several farms are now either depleted or otherwise committed.

Several saskatoon berry U-Picks will be wrapping up this week.

Jacob’s Farm (Traverse City, MI) will close for the year after Friday, July 18th.

Saskatoon Michigan (Williamsburg, MI) is now closed for the year.

The Saskatoon Berry Patch (Williamsburg, MI) will close for the year after Thursday, July 17th.

Vallad’s Saskatoon Berry Farm (Kalkaska, MI) will close for the year after Friday, July 18th.

Due to their more Northern location, Cross Farms (Northport, MI) will have U-Pick hours on the weekends of August 1-3 and August 8-10, from 9:00 AM – 11:00 AM.

Grocery stores and Farm Markets will still have fruit for a while beyond this coming weekend.

How To Find Saskatoons in Grocery Stores in Northern Michigan

POSTED IN For Consumers, For Growers, For Members ON 7/16/2014

While we await photo contest entries (See “Announcing The Great Saskatoon Search Contest!”),  we can share some photos of what saskatoon berry displays look like in a couple of local grocery stores.

IMG_0205At Olseon’s Plaza West (Traverse City, MI) the saskatoons are in the produce department wall cooler, next to the raspberries, and above the strawberries.


While the supply is low today in this store, Oleson’s staff report that they are expecting another shipment tomorrow morning.

Across town, the look is a bit different.


At Tom’s East Bay (Traverse City, MI) you will find the saskatoons on a stand next to the cherries and apricots.


Tom’s also provides some information about saskatoons, which was prepared by Cherry Capital Foods.


This is not a complete directory of stores carrying saskatoon berries. Rather, these are examples, reflecting photos that we have seen so far. As always, if you do not see saskatoons, ask store staff members.

If you find saskatoons elsewhere, and you have your smart phone or camera with you, snap a picture to post on this blog, and you may find yourself the satisfied winner of a jar of awesome saskatoon jam!


Growing Pains: How Growers in New York Face Shortage

POSTED IN For Consumers ON 7/14/2014

Screen Shot 2014-07-14 at 3.52.01 PMWhen Guy Lister, owner of Juneberry Farm in Ovid, NY (Finger Lakes area) planted about 500 juneberry bushes (Amelanchier alnifolia, also known as saskatoon bushes) a few years ago, he hoped that a market would develop for the sale of his crop beyond his U-Pick operation. After a Fall 2014 planting of 2 year old plants which he kept potted in his high tunnel, Lister will have 1,800 plants, though many are not yet mature enough to produce fruit. And he has a problem too. He does not have enough berries. Demand exceeds supply in 2014. Lister expects many more of his plants will bear fruit in 2015, and he looks forward to taking that next BIG step. Even though many Americans across the country are unfamiliar with juneberries (saskatoons), those that know them want more. This year Juneberry Farm offers U-Pick raspberries, black currant, blackberries, honey berries, figs, garlic and herbs as well as fresh free range eggs.  “When my raspberry pickers tried [juneberries] they immediately asked if they could pick them too. I had people from as far away as N. Dakota contact me, on Facebook, requesting shipments. I declined stating I didn’t have enough to meet their needs and besides I’m very concerned that they would not ship well, esp. in summer temps.” reports Lister. Like other Institute members in Northern Michigan, Lister sees many vacationers at his farm. “Being in the Finger Lakes we get lots of vacationers from large cities. They want to experience ‘fresh’ that they picked/selected with their own fingers. But now that they’ve tasted them, if they saw them for sale in their city I’m quite sure they’d buy them especially as an alternative berry fruit.” he says. Chefs in the Finger Lakes area are working on recipes that use juneberries, and providing those menu items to East Coast vacationers. While Lister has a Facebook page, and Cornell University hosts, the best advertising may well be the contents of a plate or bowl. If you have a dish that includes juneberries, please post a picture and description on this page. We’d love to see what restaurants and other cooking enthusiasts are doing. While Northern Michigan grocers are lining up to sell saskatoons (juneberries), the East Coast is not yet ready for that level of production and distribution.  But check back with us next summer. Things are bound to change.  

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:


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.