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. 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 Uncategorized ON 9/13/2019
Looking for commercial crop growers with experience in wildlife crop damage.
This online survey will help develop a picture of where and how the damage is occurring, and seek to find ways to reduce and/or prevent damage in future years.
You can read more at: https://www.canr.msu.edu/news/msu-seeks-farmer-input-on-wildlife-damage-to-crops
And you can take the survey at: https://msu.co1.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_bxRIhLjhPa5EkuN
POSTED IN Uncategorized ON 7/24/2019
This Institute is not a political organization. As a group we do not promote any party or candidate.
Now that one campaign is over, we thought you might like to know that the newly sworn in Prime Minister of Great Britain played a key role in the future of saskatoons in the previous decade. You can learn more here: https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/saskatoon/saskatoon-berries-boris-johnson-1.5222637
POSTED IN Uncategorized ON 7/17/2019
The attached news story, from Elk Rapids News, is about saskatoons, and then about two of the founding members of the Institute, and how they continue to introduce people to this wonderful tasting superfruit.
This is the time to get out there and pick some. In a few weeks, the worldwide fresh saskatoon supply will be exhausted.
Take the family! Take your friends! Join the adventure!
POSTED IN Uncategorized ON 6/29/2019
Have you developed an Integrate Pest Management program for your orchard?
If not, this resource is likely to be helpful in thinking through the various considerations: https://www.canr.msu.edu/ipm/agriculture/fruit/stone-fruit-ipm-for-beginners
Many saskatoon growers also grow a variety of other fruits and vegetables and attempt to juggle the common challenges, as well as the unique challenges of each crop. In this environment, understanding which pests will spread from their ‘preferred’ diet to other crops, and which new arrivals will threaten which crops, can be quite complex.
While many call the fruit ‘saskatoon berries’, saskatoons are actually a pome fruit, like apples and pears. Stone fruits include single pit fruit, such as peaches, plums, cherries, mangoes, and almonds. Even with this difference, pome fruit and stone fruit have some common pests.
This referenced document is not a complete manual on how to handle pests, but whether you are new to this approach, or are still willing to learn more, a review of the document is likely to provide some seeds for further thought.
POSTED IN Uncategorized ON 6/29/2019
Here are a couple of recommendations from saskatoon growers to help reduce bird damage to otherwise harvestable saskatoon crops:
- Netting: After a few years of significant bird loss, Jacques Orchards did a trial plot of bird netting last year. They were so pleased that they covered the orchard this year (adding the lesson learned about making sure that the netting touched the ground all the way around). This year things are looking very good. The photo below shows what the netting looks like. It can be removed for partial harvest, and then the bushes can be covered again until later in the season.
2. Helpful Birds: Kingbirds eat insects, but not much fruit, and they are scrappy, so often scare off other birds, including flocking birds, that want your saskatoons as their entree, over and over again.
There are 2 identified types of Kingbirds: western and eastern.
Learn more about Kingbirds at: https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Western_Kingbird/overview
Kestrel Hawks are another option: https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/American_Kestrel
By providing an appropriate habitat, you may be able to entice these preferred neighbors.
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 compiled 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 than many berries, and have 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. 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 and 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 nor 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 Uncategorized ON 1/4/2019
The Northwest Michigan Orchard and Vineyard Show is coming up on January 15th & 16, 2019 at the Grand Traverse Resort and Spa in Northern Michigan. Come see us at our trade show booth! Let’s talk saskatoons.
For more information on the show, go to: http://msue.anr.msu.edu/events/2019_northwest_michigan_orchard_and_vineyard_show
POSTED IN Uncategorized ON 12/18/2018
Attention: Institute Members
Our annual meeting is scheduled for Thursday, January 17th.
This is not your official notification – just a head’s up.
We will meet at the conference room at Michigan State University Extension in Traverse City.
Bring a saskatoon snack to share at 6:00 PM. The official meeting will come to order at 7:00 PM with election of 2019 board members and a presentation on lessons learned over the last year.