I grew up helping my grandmother pick saskatoons (Amelanchier alnifolia) for pies and preserves, and even though I rarely do anything with them but eat them straight off the bush these days I still look forward to berry-picking season.
That's funny, actually, because saskatoons aren't really berries. They're technically known as pomes, and if you had the patience to dissect one (rather than just eat it) you'd find all of the same structures inside a saskatoon as you do in an apple.
Judging by the looks of the earliest-ripening fruits, I'd say that our saskatoon season is going to be a decent one this year. Which brings me to the reason for this post...
If you had planned to come to the Nature Centre to walk in the Gaetz Lakes Sanctuary with your berry-picking bucket, you might do better to leave the bucket at home and just go for the walk. While we don't mind visitors sampling one or two saskatoons as they go, we'd prefer that most of the pomes in the Sanctuary be left for the many animals that depend on them.
Also, a reminder to those who like to collect saskatoons and other fruit from the bushes along 45th Avenue on the way to the Nature Centre: please take extra care to park your car safely. The road's fairly narrow, and over the years I've seen my share of near-misses on that stretch during picking season.
Happy (and safe) harvest, everyone!