Juneberry (Amelanchier spp.), also known as serviceberry, is a small multiple-stemmed tree or shrub that bears edible fruit. This genus includes saskatoons (Amelanchier alnifolia) which are grown commercially for fruit production in Canada and the North Central U.S. Unfortunately, saskatoons are not considered winter hardy in Kentucky and have serious leaf spot problems in this region. Most other species of Amelanchier are cultivated for use in landscape plantings; however, several of these ornamental cultivars show potential for fruit production. Among these are the Allegheny serviceberry (A. laevis) and hybrids (Amelanchier x grandiflora), which are hardy and have good leaf spot resistance in Kentucky.
Although commonly eaten “out of hand,” juneberries are also ideal for jams, syrups, juices, pies, rolls, and sweetbreads. Berries can be dried and marketed as a product similar to raisins. Most consumers are unfamiliar with juneberries, so sampling and point-of-purchase materials about handling and use would need to be included upon sale of juneberries or juneberry products. Juneberries have high nutrient and antioxidant content, and that might be noted as part of point-of-purchase consumer education. Potential markets for fresh and value-added juneberry products include farmers markets and roadside stands. Community supported agriculture (CSA) growers could include this fruit in their offerings. Frozen juneberries may also be sold to small, locally owned groceries or specialty markets. High-end restaurants, or those specializing in local fare, could be interested in featuring a new product such as juneberry. Some Canadian producers have been successful marketing juneberries as part of a U-pick operation.
Juneberries can be grown on a wide range of well-drained soils with a pH between 5.5 and 7.5. Slightly sloping sites, especially northeast slopes, are advantageous to juneberry production. Avoid cold pockets since juneberries may be subject to occasional spring flower losses from frost. Irrigation during establishment and fruiting will increase the likelihood of success.