Saskatoons (Amelanchier alnifolia) are a native plant of North America and have been widely used by indigenous peoples in Canada for millennium. In Alberta they can be found throughout the whole province. This shrub provides a number of ecological services besides a delicious and nutrient dense berry. The extensive root system grows down deep and also branches out. This makes it a good plant to stabilize the banks along waterways – it holds the soil together.
The extensive roots system also means this plant is great at capturing carbon every year. Saskatoons are also great early food for pollinators (May) and so help create habitat for essential pollinators. One more key ecological service this shrub provides is the twigs are eaten by everything from Cattle to Deer to rabbits. Wow, that is a huge amount of benefits from one plant! Most orchards seem to have plants 4 – 6 feet in height or around 3.4 meters (pictures from websites).
The following nutrition information comes from the Purplefit website and is associated with saskatoon growers. This is provided for Educational Purposes Only.
Saskatoons have twice the anti-oxidant levels of blueberries;
Reports indicate the following positive impacts: anti-inflammatory, cardio-vascular diseases, potential anti-diabetic, potential anti-cancer, high levels of these nutrients – vitamin E, Niacin, Vitamin C, Magnesium, Manganese and dietary fibre.
We cannot get certified organic saskatoons but the frozen ones available from stores in this area answered my questions about what pesticides they use and helped my decide to continue to buy their product. Some of their pesticides could be harmful to bees so hopefully they time spraying to not impact the bees.
Their berries are delicious. They explained in detail the ecological practices they use to enhance growth and reduce pest risks. We decided it was good to continue buying from them.