Forager Alert: Amelanchier is ripening around Town.
Saskatoons, Serviceberries, juneberries, shadbush, or what ever you want to call them, they are ripening in the Ohio River Valley. Do not delay, the bird pressure in most of the plantings I have seen has been low. This could all change overnight. I think the abundance of mulberries are distracting the birds temporarily.
A quick overview of the Genus. Beautiful white flower clusters before the leaves emerge, edible fruit, nice fall color, tolerant of many soil types and few serious diseases. Many more specifics can be found online.
The fruit of Amelanchier is unique and under used. Eaten fresh off the tree there is no big thrill. It is kind of sweet with a bit of an appealing flavor. The fruit really shines when it is cooked. Heating the seeds releases and almond or amaretto flavor. I often freeze part of my harvest to add to cobblers later in the season when the blackberries and other fruits start ripening. The rest go into jam.
How does a person obtain fruit? There are no U-pick Amelanchier orchards around town. If they are not growing in your yard you just need to start driving around the neighborhoods. Fortunately, many landscapers have used them in commercial plantings around town. Another great source is the Park system. You may want to check on the legality of picking fruit the Cincinnati Park System. It may be terribly illegal if you get caught.Not sure, I have never been caught picking Serviceberries.
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