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Saskatoon Berries in Toronto?

Anyone seen any saskatoon berries in TO? They seem to be on restaurant menus everywhere but haven't seen them anywhere!

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  1. try forbe's wild foods www.wildfoods.ca They might be able to tell you which retailers they sell 'toon berries to, if any

    1. I'm from the west (born in 'Toon town actually) and every time I go back to Alberta I take a cooler with me, which I fill with frozen saskatoon berries and bring back because I can't find them here either. This place - http://www.saskatoonfarm.com/ might ship them in the winter but I haven't been desparate enough yet to ask them if they'll do that. They have sturdy little 5 lb boxes with a nice thick plastic bag of berries inside.

      1. i got some from the dufferin grove farmer's market today wahoo!!

        1. Culinarium on Mt. Pleasant is selling them.

          1. As an aside, have you tried the Saskatoonberry liqueur the LCBO has? I've usually seen it at a Vintages outlet at christmas time. It's v. good!

            1 Reply
            1. re: stapler

              Jonathan Forbes had them last weekend at the Brickworks Farmers Market. $7 per quart. They were saskatoons from Ontario, and I think they were cultivated, not wild.

            2. Last summer I picked some just outside Goderich. I think they charged me about $2/quart. If you want more info just post.

              2 Replies
              1. re: cheesymama

                Yes, please do share this information.

                1. re: Full tummy

                  It's on Blyth Road between Hwy 21 and Lucknow Line on the north side of the road. Last year they just had a small sign in front of their patch of bushes.

              2. The Andrews Scenic Acres booths at the Nathan Phillips Square and Metro Square had them this week.

                1. I have seen saskatoon berry pies and preserves at one of the little stands at the Farmers "market" at the north end of Trinity Bellwoods (Dundas and Shaw).

                  I am yet to see them fresh anywhere. I took them for granted living out west.

                  1. are saskatoon berries much different than serviceberry berries (Amelanchier) because if not, I've got a ton in my backyard :-> (the robins and finches love 'em too).

                    11 Replies
                    1. re: JamieK

                      From what I can tell, one and the same. Pardon my ignorance (transplated Southerner)...what are they like?

                      1. re: Wahooty

                        Yep, serviceberries and saskatoons are the same thing. They look a lot like a dark pink blueberry (magenta when cooked), but they are slightly woody in texture, even when they are cooked. I would describe the flavour as like a cross between blueberry and huckleberry. More tart than a blueberry, but not as tart as a raspberry.

                        1. re: Full tummy

                          No, I let the birds eat them. I just went and nibbled on one to remind myself of the flavour. Sweet with a mildly tart finish. In texture, feels like I'm chomping on a blueberry. Flavour is sort of blueberryish too but with a hint of apple or possibly cherry.

                          The berries started ripening two or three weeks ago, they're almost all gone now. These trees/shrubs are pretty common all over Toronto and beyond.

                          1. re: JamieK

                            If you ever go to the East York Farmers' Market on Tuesdays, you'll see a number of serviceberry trees lining the main walkway on the civic centre grounds. They're probably covered in berries now.

                            East York Farmers Market
                            850 Coxwell Ave, Toronto, ON M4C, CA

                            1. re: JamieK


                              Thanks for the tips. When my husband was a child, he and his family lived in Nova Scotia, on a piece of land with plentiful Saskatoons. They called them "Indian pears". Since his childhood there, he hasn't eaten any, and he was in heaven on tasting the basket of berried I purchased last week from Culinarium. I will keep my eyes on the Civic Centre, though I think it may not be kosher to pick theirs each year...

                              1. re: Full tummy

                                No I wouldn't think picking a basket would be kosher but a few to taste is fine. As taxpayers, those our ours!

                                The serviceberry used to be on the list of trees available through the City of Toronto free tree planting program but for some reason has been dropped. You can still get one planted for a nominal fee on your private property through the LEAF program -

                                As a long-time experienced and knowledgable gardener, I have always recommended the serviceberry as a reliable good four-season native tree/shrub. Reliable because no problems with pests or disease. Four-season because in the spring, it has beautiful white blossoms, then in the summer berries that attract birds; the foliage offers lovely orangey-red fall colour, and in the winter, if in shrub form, offers a striking snow-covered structure.

                                The berries themselves, while mildly pleasant but very woody/chewy, I've never bothered with. I certainly wouldn't pay $7 a quart for them. To me, they are a way of attracting birds to my garden. I'm sure in pioneer days and for native people, they were major source of sweetness and pleasure but they don't seem worth the trouble to me.

                                And I'm not kidding about them being everywhere. Just walking down the street earlier I noticed a small one on the boulevard (so maybe the city is still planting them) and it had a couple of berries on it. These trees/shrubs are prolific and abundant and easy to grow in your own garden.

                                1. re: JamieK

                                  Thanks, JamieK. We had homemade Saskatoon berry shortcake tonight, and I don't know, I think you should give it a try next year...

                                  1. re: JamieK

                                    My girlfirend is from Alberta, so she loves them. They seem to be all over our neighbourhoods. We picked some this past weekend and made jam.

                                  2. re: Full tummy

                                    We were eating some from a tree on Yorkville Ave while waiting for friends to come out of a store. Made me wish I had a ziplock bag in my purse. I'm sure the snobby types there thought we were deranged.

                                    1. re: Sooeygun

                                      I noticed a few weeks back the trees at Brickworks were laden, but they were just ripening. Went back a few days ago to pick some, and they were bare. I guess people at Brickworks are in the know. I'll need to be quicker next year.

                          2. I bought some last saturday at the Green Barn farmers' market near St. Clair and Bathurst (Saturday afternoons). Never having tried them before I enjoyed them. Like other people have said, they're blueberrish, but....different. A little bit coarser in texture, but definitely tasty.

                            Green Barn Farmers' Market
                            79 Wychwood Ave, Toronto, ON M6G, CA

                            1. They were available today at the Riverdale Farmers Market. The man selling them said he'd be at Dufferin Grove on Thursday and the Brickworks on Saturday. He thought they'd be available for the next two weeks max.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: ER2

                                I saw them at the Sorauren Park Farmer's Market yesterday - but the vendor also attends the Dufferin Grove market.

                              2. Just adding that they were at the Nathan Phillips Square market this past Wednesday.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: Julie McCoy

                                  they had some at culinarium too - i think they are frozen.


                                2. Saw some (white and red) at the Sick Kids farmer's market this morning (Tuesday).

                                  1. I saw some at the brickworks farmer's market last weekend.

                                    1. available at loblaws starting july 9th. ontario grown saskatoons...not wild, but might fill the bill, they also will have frozen pies and canned pie filling and jam....according to the marketing guru for the company on breakfast television this morning....i'm still excited...lived in stoon for 2 years

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: robgm

                                        I was in the VP/Gerrard Loblaws today, and there were no saskatoons to be seen...boohoo.

                                      2. Saskatoon berries are serviceberries. Serviceberry trees and shrubs of many varieties grow -- and fruit -- beautifully in Ontario but, for some reason, it's rare to find the berries for sale. Glad to hear that Loblaws (of all stores) will be carrying them.

                                        5 Replies
                                        1. re: Tatai

                                          There are lots of saskatoon berries in my neighbourhood. Just on my way to Danforth Ave, I have my choice of at least 3 big trees to get them from. It looks like most owners are just letting them dry on the tree. Look on Carlaw, in the first block otr two south of Danforth Ave.

                                          1. re: foodyDudey

                                            I've seen them around as well...quite surprising that the birds haven't eaten them.

                                            1. re: grandgourmand

                                              - the birds -- a lot of robins and a few different kinds of finches -- have been going crazy in my large mature tree in the past couple of weeks. Unfortunately, they leave (drop) a bit of a mess all around (even in the bird baths) so you have to watch where you step but I don't mind having lots of birds to watch. I dutifully tasted a few berries just because. But still can't be bothered to make into jam or pies.

                                              Next for the birds --- dogwood berries are about to ripen. They taste, well, okay but I doubt they are jam or pie material.

                                              1. re: JamieK

                                                the other berries you see right now...all over the place and not much competition from the birds, are the mullberries.

                                            2. re: foodyDudey

                                              I spotted some more trees on Withtrow, including a really big and loaded one strategically located right next to the sidewalk (i.e. no tresspassing required).

                                              I walked by this raspberry bush too, the other day. Think it was on Pape or something. Another one that looks neglected by the owner.

                                          2. I just happened to be looking myself and found this link on-line. According to them, forbes was the only one selling them fresh but many locations had them frozen.