Ripening Guide

Learn more about the many fruits of Toronto's Urban Orchard

Serviceberries

Serviceberries may have many names (juneberries, Saskatoon berries, shadberries) but they all share the same sweet taste. Unlike many of the fruit Toronto’s urban orchard has to offer, Serviceberry trees are Indigenous to Ontario, which means they are exceptionally hardy and low-maintenance. They produce small, red to dark purple blueberry-like berries that grow on small trees (less than one storey tall).

  • June
  • July

How to tell when serviceberries are ripe: The berries will turn purplish-blue and taste sweet.

When to submit a pick request: We’ll need some advance notice to schedule your pick, so please submit a fruit pick request 3-5 days before your fruit is ready. A good time to get in touch is when 1/3 to 2/3 of the berries have turned purple.

Picking tips: Focus on the berries that are purplish-blue to purplish-red, and leave any white and pink berries on the tree. Pick the entire bunch by hand, then strip the berries off the bunch to remove the stems.

Storage tips: Serviceberries will continue to ripen off the tree. If the berries are fully ripe, make sure to refrigerate them right away. If the berries aren’t yet ripe, leave them at room temperature or place them in a paper bag to ripen. Keep an eye on the berries as they can go from unripe to rotten quickly!

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