Juneberries as a Farm Crop in the Northeast    

Small-scale Commercial Juneberry Establishment and Marketing
March 2010 – December 2012


Note: "Juneberry" = "saskatoon berry"
Same tasty fruit, but different names!

Click to enlarge photo.Juneberries / saskatoons ready for harvest and sale (Photo credit: J. Blushke)


BACKGROUND:
Juneberries are quite common, yet not widely known in the Northeast; several species of juneberries are native to our region. The "fruit crop" species is Amelanchier alnifolia - a berry native to the western prairies of North America.

Even though they look much like blueberries, they are more closely related to cherries, plums, and roses. The flavor of the fruit resembles dark cherry, plums, or raisins, with a hint of almond in the tiny edible seed. Not only are they flavorful, they are nutrient-dense, demonstrating higher levels of protein, calcium, iron, and more antioxidants than blueberries!

You might be wondering,
Should I grow juneberries?
Will they be profitable for my farm?
Will consumers really go for them?

We have already received a lot of feedback, indicating that this is a promising crop in the marketplace. Our project is a formal effort to give you straight answers about the costs of establishment, the agronomic potential, consumer appeal, and the overall suitability of juneberries for growers in New York and the Northeast.

In May 2010, four farms in the western Finger Lakes region planted more than 400 juneberry plants to get things underway. The juneberries are now growing, and we expect to be harvesting berries as early as June 2012, and seeing full production in 2013.

The cooperating growers:
Christopher Luley, Happy Goat Farm, Naples, NY
Al Norwood, Norwood Farm, Victor, NY
Stephanie Ludwig, G & S Orchards, Walworth, NY
David DeMallie, DeMallie’s Fruit Farm, Naples, NY

This project has been made possible by the Northeast Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education program (NESARE) under a 2010 Partnership Grant.


Juneberry Establishment Project Overview

  

Juneberry / saskatoon plant material

Juneberry plant material is not easy to find. Make sure the species you are ordering is Amelanchier alnifolia.

Many varieities are suitable for the Northeast. Some examples:
Smoky
JB-30
Martin
Northline
Thiessen
Honeywood
Regent

Another source of Juneberries both wholesale and home gardeners.

Honeyberry USA
Jim & Bernis Ingvaldson
PO Box 512
19736 350th Street
Bagley, MN 56621
Phone: 218-694-3071 or 218-331-8070
Email: Honeyberry
Website: Business site
Orchard blog
Varieties available:
Lee 3
Lee 8
Honeywood
Martin
Nelson
Northline
Smokey
Thiessen
JB30


Listing of nurseries that carry home-scale and commercial-scale juneberry plant material (July 2011)

Sources of juneberry plants

  

Production manual / photos

Growing Saskatoons - A Manual For Orchardists
Written by Richard G. St-Pierre, this is a really good source of information about small-scale farming of juneberries/saskatoons.



Juneberry Establishment Photos---> Go to the Juneberry establishment photo gallery

Contact

Cornell Cooperative Extension Ontario County
480 North Main Street
Canandaigua, NY 14424
CCE

See also
Juneberry feature at Cornell’s Minor Fruits website

Juneberry Q & A

Are juneberries the same as Eastern serviceberry?
NO. Juneberries grown for fruit production are the species Amelanchier alnifolia. Service berries native to the Northeast US are the species Amelanchier canadensis.

Is there much of a difference between these juneberries and native serviceberries?
YES. Juneberries are high-volume producers of sweeter, usually larger, and far more abundant berries compared to serviceberry. Cultivated (named) varieties of juneberries have been selected and propagated for more than 100 years in North America.

Do you recommend certain varieties?
YES. Juneberry varieties exist because of their consistency in growth form, disease resistance, berry flavor, ripening, and hardiness. Most varieties will perform well, and our short list includes: Smoky, JB-30, Martin, Northline, Thiessen, Honeywood, and Regent.

If you purchase an unnamed variety, you will eventually get berries that will probably taste fine, but it is impossible to predict any other aspect (bush height, ripening period, spray program).

Where can I get juneberry plants for my yard or farm?
Juneberry plant material is not easy to find. Make sure the species you are ordering is Amelanchier alnifolia.
Sources of juneberry / saskatoon plant material for Northeast US growers

Is there a manual or production publication available?
We are in the process of developing Northeastern US grower guidelines and best practices. These will be in the form of PDF juneberry production bulletins, starting in June 2011, and posted to this website. If you would like to be on the e-mail notification list when new bulletins are posted, please send an e-mail requesting notification to CCE Ontario.


In the meantime, refer to the excellent publication, Growing Saskatoons - A Manual For Orchardists

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