The juneberry, or saskatoon berry, is a tasty and nutritious berry native to North America. There are two main species: 1) the high-yielding species used as a crop is Amelanchier alnifolia, and 2) the wild shrub or tree found in the Eastern US is Amelanchier canadensis.
Guy Lister, who farms 75 acres in Ovid, said planting 500 juneberry [ed. note: saskatoon] bushes last year represents an opportunity to get in on a “super food” trend. He already has garlic planted on his farm, largely because of its healthful properties.
“Juneberries seemed like a good crop to have,” he said. “In my research, most people are growing red raspberries, black raspberries and black currants, but very few are growing juneberries.”
After learning about how high juneberries are in antioxidants, he thought it would be ideal for commercial growing and as a “you-pick” crop. He plans to plant 500 more next year.
“They’re doing very well for the most part,” Lister said. “I tried about seven different varieties. It’s really a bit of a trial-and-error for all of us. They’re used to a drier climate, so this isn’t their ideal climate.”
He has found the “Smokey” variety thrives best of all the varieties he has planted. Even though his first substantial harvest won’t be until 2014, customers are clamoring for juneberries.
“In the Finger Lakes area, there are so many restaurants around here that have had interest in using them,” Lister said.Quoted from Lancaster Farming, September 22, 2012