Keith Kanoti, Maine Forest Service,;
Chokecherry - The Native Peoples ate the berries
and used the plant for medicinal purposes.
There are many native fruit species grown under cultivation including: saskatoon berry, chokecherry, pin cherry, highbush cranberry, buffaloberry, buffalo currant and lingonberry (lowbush cranberries).

Non-native domesticated fruits include apple, dwarf sour cherry, haskap (edible honeysuckle), raspberry, strawberry, hazelnut, plum, sea buckthorn, grapes and others

Fruits and berries were grown on 354 farms in 2006.

Fruit production in Saskatchewan is challenging due to the short growing season, not enough rainfall, late-spring and early-fall frosts, strong winds, very cold winter temperatures and lack of snow cover.

Products from processed fruits (wild and domestic) include fresh, frozen and dried fruits; jams, jellies, syrups, sauces and toppings; chocolates; teas, ciders, wines and liqueurs.

  cherry pie  sundae with toppings chocolates pancake syrup jam cup of tea sparkling cider

Saskatoons; Wikipedia; Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 3.0 License


  • Saskatoons are purplish-blue berries that grow on shrubs.
  • Shrubs are from 1 to 5 m (3 to 15 ft) in height.
  • The berries vary in size and look similar to blueberries.
  • Wild bushes grow on the prairies along edges of aspen poplar bluffs, along river banks and on hillsides.
  • Saskatoons are also grown on farms and orchards in Saskatchewan.
  • The saskatoon is a hardy plant able to tolerate low temperatures and drought.
  • The Cree name for the fruit is “Mis-sask-quah-too-mina” (or Mis-sask-a-too-mina) a word that sounds similar to “saskatoon”.
  • It is also called serviceberry, Juneberry, shadberry, sugar pear and Indian pear.
  • The berries are a high source of fibre, Vitamin A and Vitamin C.
  • Saskatoon berries are referred to as a "super fruit".
  • Mortlach, a community west of Moose Jaw, holds a Saskatoon Berry Festival in July.
  • The First Nations Peoples relied on the berries for food and used the plant as a medicine.
  • They made pemmican which was a mixture of dried meat, saskatoon berries (or other berries) and melted fat.

HASKAP haskap - image by Jerzy Opiola; Wikipedia; 
Creative CommonsAttribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license

  • Haskap berries grow in North America, Japan and Russia.
  • The plant is a new commercial fruit for Saskatchewan.
  • Haskap berries are also called blue honeysuckle, edible honeysuckle, sweet berry honeysuckle and honeyberry.
  • This fruit is packed with nutrients, is high in Vitamin C and a great source of antioxidants.
  • It is called a “superfruit”.
  • The plants survive very cold winters.
  • The fruit ripens earlier than other berries (as early as mid-June).
  • The berries are eaten fresh and are also processed (frozen, dried, jam, juice).

dwarf sour cherries; Wikipedia; 
Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License

  • Dwarf Sour cherries are a new type of sour cherry.
  • Two varieties of dwarf sour cherries were released by the University of Saskatchewan in 1999 and 2007.
  • 17 per cent of Canada’s sour cherry orchards are in Saskatchewan.
  • The cherries are able to grow in Saskatchewan's cool northern climate.
  • White blossoms appear on a dwarf size plant in mid to late May.
  • Depending on the variety, ripe fruit is ready for harvest from late July to early September.
  • Sour cherries contains valuable nutrients.
  • The fruit is used to create fruit wines and other processed products.
  • Bruno, the "Cherry Town of the Prairies" has the largest dwarf sour cherry orchard in western Canada. It is the only community on the prairies to hold an annual cherry festival at the end of July.

wild blueberries;; License
 Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)


  • Wild blueberries bushes grow in the northern part of the province.
  • The plants require acidic soil.
  • Blueberries are an Important food source for wildlife during the summer.
  • The berries can be frozen, eaten fresh or used in pie filling, jam, jely, syrup, juice and wine.
  • Blueberry festivals are held in St. Walburg (north of North Battleford) and Goodsoil (west of Meadow Lake). Both festivals are held in August.

CHOKECHERRIES common chokecherry; image by Richard Old, XID Services Inc.,;

  • The name "chokecherry" was because of the bitterness of the berries.
  • The chokecherry is a bush or small tree 2 m to 5 m tall.
  • Ripe berries are bluish black and hang in a drooping cluster of 6-12 berries.
  • Berries are less than 1 cm in diameter with a fairly large stone.
  • Songbirds and mammals eat the bitter berries.
  • Deer, elk and moose eat the leaves and twigs.
  • The fruit is used to make jelly, pancake syrup and wine. Crushed fruit is frozen.
  • Since the 1800’s chokecherry bark has been used to make cough syrup and cough drops.
  • A tea made from the stems and bark was used to treat colds, fevers and pneumonia.
  • The tea was also given to clear the throats of singers and speakers.
  • The chokecherry grows on the edges of woodlands, along streams and sand hills.
  • The shrub is grown in orchards and is planted as a windbreak in fields.
  • Since the early 1970s a chokecherry festival has been held yearly in Lancer, a small community in southwest Saskatchewan.


  • APPLES and crabapples are also found in many orchards across the province. Products like dehydrated apples, apple ciders and apple cider vinegars are being developed.

  • GRAPES are not suited to Saskatchewan's short growing season. Frost in June and early frost in September is also a concern. Cold tolerant grapes are grown in the Cypress Hills area in the south west corner of the province.

  • STRAWBERRIES and RASPBERRIES are popular with many fruit growers.

  • Some orchards and farms offer U-picks as a way to pick your own fruit.

  • Prairie Berries Inc. operates a primary handling plant for grading, cleaning, freezing and packaging berries.
    A processing facility produces food products.
    Flavours include saskatoon berry, strawberry, raspberry, black currant and summerberry.

First Nations Peoples and wild fruit

Saskatchewan agriculture



Regina, SK
September 2011
*** Web Pages for Students ***

1. The Fruit Industry in Saskatchewan
2. Agriculture in the Classroom - Saskatchewan Fruit
3. Chokecherry information - Alberta Plant Watch

Saskatoons and other berries photos
chokecherries - image by Keith Kanoti, Maine Forest Service,; source Forestry Images ;
licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
saskatoons - source Wikipedia ; licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 3.0 License
haskap - image by Jerzy Opiola; source Wikipedia; licensed under the Creative CommonsAttribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.
cherries - source Wikipedia ; licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License
wild blueberries - source Flickr ; licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0) License
chokecherries - image by Richard Old, XID Services, Inc.,; source Forestry Images ;
licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 License.