John Stoa creating a masterpiece!


Saskatoon
A new Scottish superfood fruit crop

 
home
site map
how to buy
landscape paintings
snow scenes
romantic pictures
figurative paintings
fine art prints
scottish towns
fine art prints
scottish highlands
fine art prints
romantic flowers
private commissions
links
exhibition
art classes workshops
 
Back to
Fruit Growing
 

Plants available for autumn 2014


Information on availability, prices and how to order at the bottom of this page.

Saskatoon fruit

Saskatoon fruit growing is a new age superfood health product. Although it has been around for ages, its value as a healthy fruit is only just being realised.Saskatoon superfood fruit in July 2007 The demand for the fruit far outstrips its production. After a trip to Canada where I witnessed this new wonder crop I decided to try and grow these superfood berries in Scotland to find out if our climate will allow them to grow, fruit and ripen and at economically viable levels.
The plants and seeds are available in UK, but they have only been grown as very attractive ornamental garden shrubs rather than for their fruit.

The Saskatoon is a large fruiting variety of the shrub, Amelanchier alnifolia. Another Amelanchier, A. canadensis commonly known as the snowy mespilus, grows extremely well all over the UK.

Saskatoons were a major food crop for the north american indians for centuries, but only recently is their full potential being realised, with the demand for new healthy superfoods.

The Beechgrove Garden with Jim McColl featured John and his Saskatoon experiments on their TV programme last summer 2009.

John's adventure into saskatoons

A holiday to Canada took John to a Saskatoon farm for pick your own fruit. He just loved the fruit and on return to Scotland discovered that they were grown at his local Scottish Crops Research Institute in Invergowrie, however funding is not available to study them and as yet there is no demand from growers for any research. Both plants and seeds were available in UK, but grown as an ornamental tree rather than as a fruiting bush.
John decided to try them as a fruit bush on his allotment in Dundee.

The story so far........CULTIVATION
................Click images to enlarge

 

Saskatoon Thiessen at  three months old Sow September 2004
Saskatoon flowers in May 2009
Germinate April 2005

Pot grown throughout 2005

Planted April 2006 into two rows on allotment

First fruits in July 2007

Very heavy crop in 2009 and 2010


Saskatoon Thiessen above three months old from
seed sown Sept. 2004 ...................................Saskatoon flowers in May

A row of Thiessen was planted next to a row of Smokey about 7 feet apart. The plants were spaced at 3 feet apart.

There was no pest or disease problem apart from birds which love them so netting is essential on a garden scale. One bush showed some canker in 2007, but probably induced by the very wet summer weather.

The first berries tasted in July 2007 did not have the flavour of those grown in Canada, but after a six week period of constant rain and very little sunshine, it is the wrong season to judge them.

It was also a difficult year to achieve good ripening which turns the fruit black, juicy and sweet.

In Canadian tests they proved to be as good as if not better than Blueberries as a superfood health product.
Saskatoons in Feb 2009Ywo rows of Saskatoons

They look and taste very similar to blueberries, but are far easier to grow and harvest. They grow on all soils.
The fruit can be eaten fresh, or cooked as jam, jelly, sauce, or as fillings in pies, yogurts, or used for wines and liqueurs.

Superfood nutritional value
Saskatoons have higher levels of potassium, calcium, magnesium, and iron than blueberries and the dark skins are a rich source of anthocyanins, an antioxidant which may help prevent heart disease, strokes, cancer, cataracts and other chronic illnesses associated with ageing.

Scottish Saskatoons in 2008
The fruit crop in 2008 was picked in one harvest on 27th July when 9lbs of large black sweet juicy berries were gathered. However the birds had already eaten quite a few while still just turning red and before I got a net over them.The flavour was far better than 2007 (a very wet year) and the fruit sweetness was enhanced with a few days storage.
Saskatoon Smoky bush in fruit mid July 2007

SCOTTISH SASKATOONS 2009
Two fruiting rows started the year with a fantastic flower display promising a bumper crop.

Picking started in late July and continued for two weeks with an average of nearly 5 lbs of fruit per bush. Quality was excellent and netting was installed to protect from birds.
The berries make excellent jam but are quite sweet so require some redcurrant juice to balance the flavour help them set firm. Another recipe included a mixture of Rhubarb and saskatoons making a beautiful jam.
They will also be mixed with some blackcurrants for jam as a trial.We also eat them fresh, with museli in mornings and at lunchtime with natural yoghurt or cream and honey. They are also used for cakes and as a pie filling.
At the end of the year my bushes are about 4 to 5 foot tall but still require no pruning. They are fruiting on all wood from top to ground so pruning will only be required if they grow too tall to pick comfortably.
Each winter I give a light dressing of compost then in spring they get a dusting of fertiliser, and watering is only given if the weather is very dry.

Scottish Saskatoons 2010
The weather this year has been cool to mild with an awful lot of rain, although June was brilliant. This affected the crop which ripenned very slowly from early July till August.
Anna is now experimenting with recipes for jams, juices, compote, smoothies, crumbles and oaties. Our healthy lifestyle is enhanced with the addition of Aronia berries, (the chokeberry) said to be one of the healthiest food on the planet with ten times more anti oxidants than blueberries. Seeds of the variety Viking have been sown so hopefully we shall have some seedlings in spring.

Saskatoon Saskatoon wine at Christmas 2011season 2011Saskatoon wine, jam and cake
A cool wet summer followed a very severe winter, but saskatoons seem to like this extreme climate and we got one of our heaviest crops to date. There was too much for jams, pies, compote and juice so we started to brew batches of saskatoon wine.
Tastings have been excellent with the wine quite drinkable after just a few weeks even at strengths of over 14% alcohol.
Plant growth this year has been poor due to lack of sunshine and warmth, but plants are very sturdy.

Saskatoon season 2012 and 2013

The 2012 year was just about the wettest year on record as well as a cool sunless summer. This did not help the saskatoon berries. However I still managed to pick about 24lbs of fruit, then wet weather prevailed and a lot of berries failed to ripen. Fruit quality in mid picking was good, so plenty for jam, compote, cakes and wine. Eating fresh from the bush lasted a month as the crop ripened very slowly.
I brewed three demijohns of wine from this years surplus crop. This will be sampled at Christmas 2013.
My first really serious prune was done first week in September to reduce height, remove low branches where berries get splashed with soil, keep the middle of the bush open and remove suckers in between the rows.
The 2013 season was very late but a warm dry summer made up for it. Picking started at the end of July and continued till mid August.

NEW SUPERFOOD UPDATEChokeberry, Aronia

The Chokeberry available now, Large plants in pots 2014
Aronia melanocarpa Viking now in its third year is available in pots priced at £12 each and larger ones at £20 each for collection only.

The shrub grows to about six feet or more but height can be controlled by pruning. Autumn colour is is a brilliant fiery red.
This fruit has a higher content of vitamin C and antioxidants than any other plant, and since the fruit is very dark the birds are not quick to eat them.
It can be used for jams, juices, pies, compote, summer puddings and makes an excellent wine, one of my best for flavour.

Click on images to enlarge.

Plants for sale 2014
saskatoon plants in potsOne year old plants in 7cms pots
News of this new fruit crop has been spreading with a healthy demand for young plants so John has been propagating them for those that wish to try them out.

Plants are available now for collection from John in Dundee or by mail order


Two year old plants in 14 cms pots ..............................................................................One year old plants in 7cms pots


Three year old bare root plant

Please order bare root plants in autumn.
Plants are very sturdy with excellent fibrous roots.

All live plants are sent by first class mail.

John Stoa at 17a Menzieshill Road, Dundee, DD2 1PS
Payment may be made by cash, bank transfer or cheque made payable to John Stoa.
Card payments cannot be taken.

Phone : 01382 665879

Email : johnstoa@blueyonder.co.uk

New Blog The Artist and his Garden : follow my horticultural experiences as they happen.