The Saskatoon Berry (originally named misâskwatômin by the Cree) is a dark purple berry which can be found in Western & Central Canada, as well as North West & North Central USA. Its deciduous shrubs typically grow up to 25 feet in the wild, uncommonly reaching heights just over 30 feet. Orchards however, maintain their shrubs around 10 feet, as anything much higher can’t be harvested well. The small white flowers bloom at the end of spring, depending on rainfall. The berries themselves grow to be 1/2 – 3/4 inches in diameter and when plump and juicy, saskatoon berries are mechanically harvested. A large picker drives alongside the shrubs, reaching over the row, splitting the row in half and gently shaking the berries loose, onto a conveyor belt below. Once harvested, the berries are manually separated, graded and washed. They are delicious eaten fresh or baked and cooked into all sorts of delictibles!
If you’ve ever compared a saskatoon berry to a blueberry and wondered “really, what is the difference??”, these fun facts are for you!
1) Saskatoons aren’t actually SMALLER than blueberries. You may recall them being small when snacking on them after a trip to the bushes behind the farm, with half-full pails in hand… that’s b/c they grew wild, which means they likely didn’t receive as much TLC (ie. water) as berries in the orchards, due to hot, dry, prairie summers. When given plenty of water, any berry can grow plump and fat! Our berries from Raven Wing orchards have p-l-e-n-t-y of TLC!
2) Saskatoons have twice the FIBRE as blueberries, for which they do carry a reputation of being slighty “chewy”. However it seems this exagerated reputation also stems from the texture of wild berries… poor lil guys, they’re just so misunderstood!
3) Saskatoons have more CALCIUM than blueberries. They also have 3x the PROTEIN, 3x the POTASSIUM and 5x the IRON as blueberries …not to mention more antioxidants than strawberries, raspberries & blueberries (just sayin’)! What does that mean? It means you might want to start putting them into your morning shakes, that’s what!! It also means you don’t have to feel so guilty about enjoying a piece of fresh baked saskatoon pie by Sunrise Berry Farms.