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.

Saskatoons Spotted in More Stores and Markets

POSTED IN For Consumers ON 7/10/2014

We understand that you can now buy fresh saskatoon berries in the following places:   Northwest Michigan Evergreen Market 8066 US HWY 31 North Williamsburg, MI 49690 (231) 342-3994 Hoxie’s Farm Market 6620 M 72 E Williamsburg, MI 49690 (231) 267-9087 Jacob’s Farm Market 7100 E. Traverse Hwy. (M-72 West) Traverse City, MI 49684 (231) 632-6293 Elk Rapids Farmer’s Market (Friday’s 8:00 AM – 1:00 PM)   Northeast Michigan AJ’s Berry Farm Market 1150 Salina Rd Lachine, MI 49753 (989) 379-3061   Ed. note: This is not intended to be a complete list, but is provided to help you find saskatoons.

Traverse City Oleson’s Food Stores Selling Saskatoons!

POSTED IN For Consumers ON 7/8/2014

Screen Shot 2014-07-08 at 9.52.10 AMOleson’s Plaza West and Oleson’s Plaza East both have fresh saskatoons for sale!

Check ’em out (and remember The Great Saskatoon Search Contest). Eat them fresh, or try some of the recipes that appear below in this blog.

For location information check http://www.olesonsfoods.com/storeinformation.html

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!

AJ’s Berry Farm Opens for U-Pick

POSTED IN For Consumers ON 7/8/2014

AJ’s Berry Farm (near Alpena) is now open for the season. U-Pick hours are 7:00 AM – Noon. The store is also open from 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM, selling fresh picked saskatoons as well as jam.  For more information, go to: https://saskatoonberryinstitute.org/location/ajs-berry-farm/

Saskatoon Berry Patch to Open for U-Pick

POSTED IN For Consumers ON 7/6/2014

The Saskatoon Berry Patch https://saskatoonberryinstitute.org/location/jim-dixon/ of Williamsburg will open for U-Pick from 8:00 AM – 1:00 PM from Wednesday 7/9 – Saturday 7/12.

You can also find Saskatoon Berry Patch at the Elk Rapids Farmers Market.

Jacob’s Farm Opens for U-Pick

POSTED IN For Consumers ON 7/6/2014

Screen Shot 2013-05-31 at 7.25.07 AMYou can now pick saskatoons and other fruit at Jacob’s Farm, https://saskatoonberryinstitute.org/location/jacobs-farm-enterprises-llc/ just west of Traverse City, MI every day until the crop is gone from 7:00 AM to 9:00 PM.

They Came Early!

POSTED IN For Consumers ON 7/4/2014

Several farms have fresh saskatoons, a couple of weeks earlier than expected!

While many farms were open by the 4th of July last year, this year’s colder spring delayed fruit development. Yet somehow the bushes caught up.

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Saskatoon Michigan (https://saskatoonberryinstitute.org/location/saskatoon-michigan-farm-nursery/) is opening for U-Pick on Saturday, July 5th from 8:00 AM – 1:00 PM.  We will post hours for others as we learn of them.  You can check the calendar tab for the most current information, or call or email members using the Directory tab, to learn who else is ready to see folks out standing in their field.

Enjoy your holiday with fireworks, fun foods, and a little U-Pick exercise.  If you would rather not go to all the work of making saskatoon pie out of fresh berries, Saskatoon Michigan also sells fruit filling, ready to go.  Then again, if you order in advance, they can bake the pie for you. Is that too many options?