June 21, 2017

Serviceberries....

They've survived the attacks of the birds and reached the point of what is, for me, palatable ripeness.

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Yesterday, I had one of my all-time best experiences of picking fruit and immediately eating it. Unlike some people I know, I have never made money as a fruit picker, and also unlike some people I know, I've never paid money to go out in somebody's pick-your-own-berries field. So my experience is limited. And — as you may know — my sense of taste is also limited, which makes me hesitate to eat any fruit, lest it come across as irritatingly sour. But the serviceberries yesterday were nicely sweet. I don't know why the birds hadn't got them all. This was the first time since we got the tree planted in '09 that I got the chance to pick and eat a lot of the berries.

52 comments:

Karen said...

The Shamrock Incident can be followed by the sequel, The Serviceberry Survival.

traditionalguy said...

An abundance of Fruit is comforting. My compliments to the tree planting Meade.

Dave from Minnesota said...

Strawberry season is here. I recommend a trip to Alma Center- Merrillan area.

MayBee said...

I never really thought of eating serviceberries.

Original Mike said...

I planted a couple of serviceberries several years ago. Haven't seen berries yet.

Virtually Unknown said...

I notice the crows out in my lawn eating earthworms and the occasional wild strawberry and I wonder if it's like duck and blackberry.

Original Mike said...

"Yesterday, I had one of my all-time best experiences of picking fruit and immediately eating it."

Occasionally while backcountry canoeing in Quetico we'd come across a well-fruited blueberry patch. When that happens, all thought of making miles is abandoned for awhile.

Rene Saunce said...

Wisconsin berries... the. best.

HoodlumDoodlum said...

My Mom's blueberry bushes are having a great year and it looks like she might have scuppernongs off her relatively-young vines for the first time.
Bad year for peaches, good year for berrires, apparently.

My all-time best was after a day of spelunking in the NC mountains (which was after a bit of a hike) coming across wild strawberries and blackberries--the strawberries were small and stained everything but were so sweet and flavorful we grabbed a couple of helmutfulls and gobbled them down. Memories!

zipity said...

When I was a young sprite, we had a gooseberry bush in our backyard. Just thinking about eating them now makes my mouth pucker.....SOUR.

Quayle said...

"I don't know why the bird hadn't got them all."

Perhaps their sense of taste is not limited.

Tank said...

Best fruit we ever had was strawberry picking on the Isle de Orleans in Canada.

Really ruined me for store bought.

Snark said...

When I was a kid, I was, like now, a pretty inefficient berry picker. One day as an intended surprise for my mother I picked blueberries for hours, methodically filling up not one but two 5 quart baskets. On the way home I tripped on the train tracks and spilled myself and every last berry all over the creosote soaked ties and rocks. I might have just lain there until I was run over by a train if my friend hadn't convinced me that some day I'd get over it. I did of course, but I still viscerally recall the sense of failure, futility and hopelessness that day in my 10 year old life.

David said...

Meade has paid to pick fruit?

You must forgive him. I went to Tijuana when I was 19. I know the temptations.

Snark said...

Oh and the red serviceberries were a referendum on Trump. Birds know. :p

Meade said...

"I planted a couple of serviceberries several years ago. Haven't seen berries yet."

I can enthusiastically recommend Amelanchier × grandiflora 'Autumn Brilliance' serviceberry for March buds, April-May flowers, June fruit, July-August shade, October color, and interesting branching structure all winter.

selfanalyst said...

This is our second year of having sufficient service berries to pick and eat. When perfectly ripe they are delicious. Sweet fruit and the seeds are more nutty than "seedy". Perfect stirred into vanilla yogurt. But they don't keep long. Will try freezing some next year.

Big Mike said...

I don't know why the birds hadn't got them all.

Thank the cat.

Hagar said...

BTW, veldig, though misused as a synonym for meget (very), really means huge.

Meade said...

"Meade has paid to pick fruit?"

I was paid to pick fruit when I was 19 in 1973. Delta County, Colorado. Lived out of my '67 VW beetle. Found out just how hard migrant farm work can be but, WOW, what a beautiful part of the country.

Meade said...

@Hagar, thanks. I knew I shouldn't trust Elmer Fudd's translation.

Ralph L said...

I'd never heard of a service berry until today. Must not do well in our heat and humidity.

My mother said they would eat her father's peaches right off the tree until they were sick.

Michael K said...

Berries become peanuts in a bout an hour in Tucson this week.

Picked up a week's dog poop and could have done it with a thimble.

Meade said...

My personal peak fruit-picking/eating experience happened 15 years ago when we came across a veldig patch of wild blueberries while mt. biking in Dupont State Forest.

Peggy Coffey said...

I love Service berries. Ours ripened last week and we have so many, we couldnt pick them all. The birds get a lot.

Hagar said...

Off topic, but it is another example of dishonest reporting.
The reports of the shooting of Philando Castile all start off with some variation of "how a routine traffic stop ...",
but it was not routine. Officer Yanez stopped the car because it matched the description of a car seen leaving the area of a convenience store armed robbery, and the occupants matched the description of the robbers.
Officer Yanez radioed in about the dead taillight to reassure his superiors that he had a defence against "profiling," but he was expecting to meet with a pair of armed robbers.

Castile had a rap sheet and obviously was not a person who should not have been issued a license "to carry," but this is due to some peculiarity in Minnesota law. If you look up the law for carrying a firearm in a vehicle, it still says it must be unloaded and locked in the trunk or otherwise unavailable for the occupants.

Rene Saunce said...

Hagar - Mainstream media are awful. It's all lazy template and narrative, with a heavy layer of spin and one-sided politicization. We do not have an honest unbiased curious professional press in this nation.

Rene Saunce said...

My grandmother's side of the family farmed outside of Milwaukee. Back when the outskirts of town were considered rural. My aunt passed away years ago, and how the old farm is surrounded by suburbia (and is no longer a farm at all.) Property was donated (I think?) and is now an ice-skating rink or something. (near Blue Mound Road?) Anyway - the farm would produce the most amazing raspberries and blackberries.

I cannot find berries that taste like that.

Sigivald said...

"WTF is a serviceberry?"

*Looks*

"Oh, a Sasktatoon berry."

traditionalguy said...

And don't forget that our most favorite Trump assistant, the great Kellyanne Conway, was the star Blueberry Packer and won the Miss Blueberry beauty Pageant.

tcrosse said...

To Former-President Obama:
Thanks for your service, Barry.

Hagar said...

All the modifiers I can think of to go with stille are loan words from Danish. I guess in pure Norwegian, you are either still or you are not, and if you want to modify you would write around it with something like musestille or stille som mus ("quiet as mice").

Bad Lieutenant said...

tcrosse,

What service?

tcrosse said...


What service?


The Big Raspberry.

etbass said...

As a youth in rural Kentucky, we picked gallon cans of blackberries in fields of bushes and sold them for 50 cents a gallon, our only source of spending money in those days. Mama got a few gallons of them too, and we washed them in a laundry tub of water. Then we had blackberry jam all winter as well as jam cake at Christmas time.

Coconuss Network said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Coconuss Network said...

"Felsenbirne" in Germany. Looks like a beautiful fruit tree, but we already chopped the cherry tree cuz the birds got all the cherries. I think we stay with berry bushes. So far producing their first harvest. Strawberries is more an experiment cuz of EU Snails which might get 'em first. Kudos to Meade. What a wonderful fruit, I'm learning about for the first time today.

Fritz said...

They're sometimes called shadbush because they flower the same time the shad run.

David said...

We had blueberries growing wild in the woods in Northeast Pennsylvania, and we kids were sent out to pick them. It was great fun, because it was for fun not someone's profit.

Left Bank of the Charles said...

My grandmother had a very large bed of Senator Dunlap strawberries in her Iowa farm garden. Just who was this illustrious Senator? Even the internet doesn't seem to know. For the two or three weeks of strawberry season, she served strawberries for breakfast, dinner, and supper. Heaven!

The farm still has some wild gooseberry bushes, which my father likes to graze - browsing would be the proper term - strictly pick and eat - he considers it a wasted effort to put them in a bowl or a hat for later.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Ive never heard of Serviceberries either. Just last year we discovered that the two trees on the edge of our property are Mulberry trees. I never paid attention to them and just let the birds eat the fruit. They are loaded again this year...perhaps I should do something.

I have a frozen 5 pound sack of Elderberries that I should do something with also. Gad the fruit is just too much sometimes. I'm finally done thinning the apple trees, pears and plums of fruit. I was ruthless this year and hope that we get LESS fruit that is bigger and more useful.

We chopped down the Himalaya berry bushes (blackberries) and are working diligently to kill the bastards. They have such deep roots that even the backhoe is having a hard time digging them up. ROUNDUP!!

Ralph L said...

They are loaded again this year...perhaps I should do something.
KILL THEM!!
Nasty, nasty trees and fruit. The birds will poop volunteers all over your yard.
Or get some silk worms if they're purple. James I&VI planted the wrong kind.

Ralph L said...

Thinning is good. Put some low nitrogen fertilizer under your fruit trees next winter.
If the berry stalks are freshly chopped, try painting them with fairly concentrated Roundup. Otherwise, wait til new growth is well underway--not too concentrated or you'll kill the foliage but not the roots. Spray twice, a week apart, and not when it's been hot and dry (plants might be dormant).

Ralph L said...

Low nitrogen, high phosphorus and potassium like 10-20-20--not easy to find at Lowes, try a farm supply store. Tobacco fertilizer is good because of micro-nutrients like iron, boron and zinc.

Rick Turley said...

I'm not sure what varieties that is, but usually ripe serviceberries look like blueberries and are a bit bland for my palate. The birds likely were waiting another day or so on those.

Rick Turley said...

I have fond memories of "jerking corn tassels" - get your minds out of the gutter! - in the late July heat for about 25 cents an hour back in the day. You had to wear long-sleeve shirts to keep from getting cut by the leaves. The humidity was appalling due to acres of transpiring corn plants and there was absolutely no breeze in the field with the corn as tall or taller than you were. The girls got to ride on a combine sort of machine but we had to walk the rows.

We did this because the seed company (Pioneer) did not want the tassels pollinating the ears because they pollinated for a controlled hybrid cross and the seeds would not come true from random pollination. It was interesting to study open pollination versus F1,F2, and F3 hybrids.

Fun fact - there is a silk for every kernel of corn on the ear. If you want good pollination in a smaller garden, plant in blocks, not in rows, because the wind carries most of the pollen to other corn plants.

Bushman of the Kohlrabi said...

The problem with the serviceberry is it's name. Too utilitarian. Sounds like it was named by Mao.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Thanks Ralph. Good info. Especially the tree fertilizer. I'm sure our farm supply store can help.

Bad Lieutenant said...

For the two or three weeks of strawberry season, she served strawberries for breakfast, dinner, and supper. Heaven!

What did you have for lunch?

paulmichiel said...

I much prefer serviceberry (which I call shadblow) to the more common Bradford pear. Aside from the fruit, which are always devoured by birds before we get any, I love the exquisite spring flowers and the smooth grey bark. But only two of the four shadblow we have planted over the last 18 years have survived. So tell us, Meade, what did we do wrong?

rhhardin said...

Former editor of The Guardian on what's wrong with the news

https://www.gresham.ac.uk/lectures-and-events/a-world-without-news

It's a Gresham lecture. PDF's are there and the audio and video will turn up in a couple of weeks.

jaed said...

We chopped down the Himalaya berry bushes (blackberries) and are working diligently to kill the bastards. They have such deep roots that even the backhoe is having a hard time digging them up. ROUNDUP!!

Don't get too optimistic. Roundup doesn't kill Himalayan blackberry, it just stuns it a little.

Chop them down and dig out the roots. Then be prepared to do it again next year. After the third year they'll probably be gone. Probably.