The Economics of Growing Saskatoon Berries

The Economics of Growing Saskatoon Berries

A very hearty, deciduous shrub native to Canada, Saskatoon berries are found throughout the area from western Ontario to British Columbia to the Yukon Territory. In fact, there is even a city named Saskatoon after the berry, which was a key part of life for the aboriginal peoples and early settlers who lived there.

Although Saskatoon berries are not well known outside the Prairies, the current demand for these sweet and antioxidant-rich fruits exceeds supply. It takes a long-term commitment for farmers to grow these bushes, but the resulting benefits are strong.

The Basics of Saskatoon Berries

Usually around four to six meters high, Saskatoon bushes or trees begin bearing fruit around three or five years of age, with maximum harvests when they’re 12 to 15 years old. Saskatoon berries can survive harsh winter temperatures as low as 60° Celcius and the bushes typically last between 30 and 50 years.

The Rewards for Saskatoon Farmers

For most producers, investments pay off after about eight to ten years of production. Mature Saskatoon orchards yield 3000 to 4000 pounds of berries per irrigated acre, assuming they’ve avoided damage from spring frosts and production problems from insects or disease.

Because the Saskatoon industry is still young, it’s hard to predict the long-term economic feasibility of production and crop management. However, with continuing research being done on the nutritional benefits of these dark purple berries, demand continues to rise, making the outlook a positive one.

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