Four years ago I ordered 20 Saskatoon berry bushes from Calgary and planted them in a disused garden plot at the farm.  Nothing much has happened until this year when there were oodles of blossoms and my neighbour lent me a roll of netting to protect the fruit from the flocks of birds which follow two pairs of cedar waxwings around to the choicest eats.

Perhaps it was the soaking rains, but this week we have had a bumper crop of large, juicy Saskatoons.  So far Bet has bagged and frozen seventy cups of the fruit for winter.

I am torn between wanting to believe that this wonder berry is the latest crop miracle, and/or rationalizing that it’s just the effect of too much rain which has caused the bushes to produce freakish amounts of berries, a one-year-in-a-hundred phenomenon.

I enjoy picking berries, and these grow on little trees.  No uncomfortable bending is involved in the harvest.  The shrubs bear exceptionally well, and the fruit can be picked in bunches if you hold a flat pan underneath to catch everything.

Saskatoons are reputed to be the best berries for pies, bar none.  We’ll see.  Raw, the ripe berries taste a little bland, but they are pleasantly chewy and more substantial than blueberries.  Cooked, they have a more nuanced flavour and are quite nice.


UPDATE 22 JULY, 2019:  I have just completed the final picking of the patch.  It netted 2.25 pounds of berries after a heat wave which I expected to destroy the fruit.  Unlike mulberry trees which shed ripe fruit at the first breeze, Saskatoon bushes hold onto their mature product quite well through heat and high winds.

This will put our winter cache to about 120 cups, a reasonable number if they are used each day for cereal topping, as well as other baking projects.  I plan to keep a couple of pounds in the refrigerator for use fresh until late fall.  They keep well.