POSTED IN For Growers, For Members ON 3/17/2021
The Saskatoon Berry Institute of North America has “restarted” after tough times in 2019 and 2020 stalled all Institute business.
Although saskatoon berries are a very minor fruit crop in Michigan, with less than 100 acres, Michigan is the home of the Saskatoon Berry Institute of North America. The Institute has been in existence since 2012, providing information and assistance to growers and marketers in Michigan, other states, and Canada (where the greatest amount of saskatoon berry production occurs). As with many small organizations, keeping things running is difficult, and it got even harder after the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic. The Institute held no public events in 2019 and 2020, and the board of the Institute simply retained their posts over these years, as no elections were held.
In late 2020 the board renewed activities with hope that 2021 would be a better year. The annual membership meeting of the Institute was held on-line on January 21, 2021. Although attendance was low, important business was conducted. A.J. MacArthur, a grower from Lachine, Michigan, was selected to be the new president of the Institute. The board decided that anyone who held a paid membership in 2019, the last year that membership fees were collected, will be granted paid member status for the year 2021.
If you have an interest in learning more about saskatoon berries, growing this fruit or the activities of the Saskatoon Berry Institute of North America, visit their web site at https://saskatoonberryinstitute.org/ or contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Duke Elsner, Small Fruit Extension Educator (Retired), Michigan State University
POSTED IN For Consumers, For Growers, For Members ON 6/6/2019
The Saskatoon Berry Institute of North America is reaching out to nearly 300 farms that grow saskatoons for sale. These farms are located throughout Canada and the United States. With the results of this survey the Institute expects to identify: 1) industry wide production expectations for 2019, 2) existing distribution options for harvested saskatoons, 3) issues that most challenge growers, and 4) changes regarding industry players and production since our last survey in 2015. The outcome will be a report entitled The State of the Saskatoon Berry Industry, 2019.
Each grower that completes and submits their survey will receive a copy of the complied report.
The deadline for farms to participate in the Saskatoon Growers Survey is Saturday, June 8, 2019.
2019 is shaping up to be a bumper crop for saskatoons. We have not yet received any reports of crop loss due to weather or other naturally occurring conditions.
If you are a grower, and have not yet received the survey, please click on Contact Us and request a copy of the survey. Please be sure to include your e-mail address in your communication.
If you are a consumer, and hope to acquire some saskatoons of your own later this summer, please click on Calendar to find a listing, by date, of availability in your area. Please note that many of our Institute members will not post their status until about 2 weeks before their fruit is ripe, so you may need to check in every week or two until your region has ripening fruit. Ripening dates vary by geographic region, so it would be unusual to see all growers posted on the same dates. Generally fruit is available in more southern areas as soon as early July, and in more northerly climates as late as mid-August.
About Saskatoons (also called Juneberries or Pacific serviceberries in some locations): Saskatoons (sometimes with the addition of the word berries) are a fruit that comes from Amelanchier alnifolia plants. While some suggest that saskatoons look like blueberries, they are actually a unique fruit with a very dark purple color (high in antioxidants), more firm that many berries, with a tangier, almost nutty taste. Saskatoons are part of the Rosaceae family. Its close relatives include many common fruits such as apples, plums, cherries, apricots and almonds. Saskatoons are great to eat fresh as well as baked. Some of the harvest is used to infuse wine and other alcoholic beverages. While hard to find in processed forms, they are also sought after in juice and powder forms. In some locations consumers buy find them frozen as well as dried.
About The Saskatoon Berry Institute of North America: SBINA is an educational organization, both for growers and consumers. We neither buy or sell fruit or plants. Our goal is to see greater crop availability leading to more saskatoons being enjoyed throughout North America.
POSTED IN For Members, Uncategorized ON 1/16/2019
Our annual meeting is tomorrow – Thursday, January 17 (and all are welcome). Please be sure to RSVP to Dr. Elsner at email@example.com so he can plan accordingly.
By way of reminder:
Location is Grand Traverse County Michigan State University Extension Office, 520 West Front Street, Traverse City, MI, 49684.
Social time from 6:00 PM – 7:00 PM.
Official Annual Meeting begins at 7:00 PM.
Among other procedural items, the agenda will include our annual election of board members and a presentation by Duke Elsner entitled “Looking Back and Heading Forward- the MSU Connection”.
This is a great opportunity to meet growers, review lessons learned over the past year, and talk about what is coming up in 2019.
POSTED IN For Growers, For Members ON 7/13/2018
In this blog we have previously discussed Spotted Wing Drosophila (SWD), an invasive, relatively new fruit fly overspreading North America. While there are few reported cases of SWD affecting saskatoon berries, there is broader concern for many fruits. Therefore, we are sharing this article suggesting that there is good news regarding organic management methods for SWD. Rufus Isaacs has addressed Institute members on several other pests, but none that present such a fast growing threat to fruit crops as SWD.
While most fruit flies are only interested in fruit still hanging from bushes and trees, SWD seem content to continue their lifecycle in fallen and rotting fruit as well. So while some USDA practices call for allowing fruit to drop, this fiend uses such situations to its benefit.
It is our hope that our friends across both the US and Canada can take note of these new developments, and be encouraged as they pursue some of these methods.
You can read more at: New guide to organic management of spotted wing Drosophila released
or go directly to the full report at: Management Recommendations for Spotted Wing Drosophila in Organic Berry Crops
POSTED IN For Consumers, For Growers, For Members ON 6/23/2018
Well, the weather appears to have been helpful for saskatoons as well as other seasonal fruit.
First off, at least some farms are seeing their fruit come in earlier than last year! Check out our directory for U-Pick locations, and by the end of this week the calendar on our website should also include actual hours for U-Pick for our members.
Secondly, a new dreaded pest seems to have been kept at bay. While Spotted Wing Drosophila (one of the newer fruit flies in the North America) had very little impact on saskatoons for most farms last year, Michigan State University reports that their development is even father behind schedule than last year, apparently related to weather. For more on that, follow this link:
So plan ahead! Figure out how you can get your fresh fruit before it runs out! Last year the season, for many growers, was only about three weeks long, and much of the fruit was picked before the end of the second week. Best wishes to you all in getting your 2018 supply in a timely fashion, and enjoying saskatoons fresh, and in so many yummy recipes!
POSTED IN For Growers, For Members ON 3/14/2017
Pest Management is an annual challenge for those who love to eat saskatoon berries. While saskatoons are native to North America, there are several native, as well as invasive, pests that can challenge a healthy harvest.
Dr. Erwin ‘Duke’ Elsner just released this year’s list of produce-rescuing recommendations, based on Michigan agricultural standards. This includes several organic options. The point of this list is to help growers identify diseases and insects that can damage plants and fruit, and then select responses for each based on the growers preferences and unique conditions.
Part of the effort here is to be very careful to encourage pollinators and other helpful insects. You can find more about how to develop pollinator habitat in our blog posts from last winter.
May you all have more than enough saskatoon berries to enjoy this coming summer!
POSTED IN For Consumers, For Members ON 8/9/2016
POSTED IN For Growers, For Members ON 2/16/2016
The presentation “The Economics of Growing Saskatoons” was part of the program of the Northern Michigan Small Farm Conference on Saturday, January 30th, 2016.
Subject matter includes:
- What saskatoon berries looks like
- What saskatoon bushes looks like
- Health benefits of saskatoon berries
- Growing requirements
- Market opportunities for fresh and processed saskatoons
- Costs associated with planting and maintaining a saskatoon orchard
- Key business practices for successful growing
- Essential business considerations
- Business planning concepts
- Tax considerations
- Insurance considerations
- Legal considerations
- A financial projection example
- An introduction to resources that can help
To download the program presentation, go to: SFC 2016 Econ Saskatoons
We had a good group, with many targeted questions. It was a delight to talk through both the questions for which good answers are available and the questions for which good answers are still being researched.
What we know is that:
- People that try saskatoon berries almost always want more saskatoon berries
- Growers with even minimal marketing experience can sell out of their fruit
- Working together through the Saskatoon Berry Institute of North America we are building a larger market, and working on ways to satisfy orders larger than many farms can fill by themselves
If you are already growing saskatoons, please consider joining the Institute.
If you are considering growing saskatoons, please talk the Institute and our members.
POSTED IN For Growers, For Members ON 1/11/2016
Would you benefit from knowing more about the economics of growing and selling saskatoon berries? Lets talk dollars and sense on Saturday, January 30, 2016 from 9:00 AM – 10:15 AM at The Northern Michigan Small Farm Conference, located at the Grand Traverse Resort and Spa. SBINA will be offering a session entitled The Economics of Growing Saskatoons, which will provide:
- A basic list of the costs of developing a commercial saskatoon field
- A general timeline of cash flows and important events
- Several potential markets for saskatoon berries
- Methods to project future revenues
- A discussion of relative value of cooperating with other saskatoon growers.
Come meet current growers and learn from those with the experience of walking this path already.
POSTED IN For Growers, For Members ON 3/27/2015
The Michigan Agriculture Environmental Assurance Program is a voluntary, proactive environmental assurance program. Over 2,600 farms in Michigan have been verified as of this date, with many more currently in the process. Thank you to all the saskatoon growers that attended last night’s program. Clearly there are benefits to growers, consumers, the state, and the environment as this program develops. Thank you also to Laura and Jessica for your efforts. Your experience and drive are an asset for our region. The Saskatoon Berry Institute of North America will evaluate ways that we can continue to partner with MAEAP in pursuing our common goals. This program is only offered in Michigan. Each county has a MAEAP Technician that can help farms evaluate their readiness, and help with the verification process. If you live in other states, provinces or countries, you might check with local agricultural extension officer to see if there is a similar program where you live. While not quite the same as being there, you are welcome to take a look at the PowerPoint presentation for the evening: MAEAP overview Saskatoon For more information, you can also go to: www.maeap.org