Sweet Saskatoon Berry Success

Jarvis Blushke’s childhood memories are infused with the sweetness of Saskatoon Berries, picked with his mother along the North Saskatchewan River. These nostalgic moments ignited a lifelong passion for the versatile purple berry, leading Blushke to transform his love into a thriving business venture.

Today, Blushke owns Blue Sky Berries Farm, spanning 15 acres near Langham, Saskatchewan. Here, he cultivates 15,000 Saskatoon plants alongside conventional and organic crops and all-natural beef cattle. However, it’s the Saskatoon plants that steal the spotlight, embodying Blushke’s dedication to growing exceptional berries.

Blushke’s journey from childhood forager to berry entrepreneur is marked by experimentation and innovation. He developed his own Saskatoon berry varieties, eschewing traditional seedling cultivation for etiolated cuttings sourced from wild plants. This meticulous approach ensures consistency in size, taste, and ripening, making his berries a sought-after commodity.

His commitment to quality caught the attention of the University of Saskatoon, where Blushke’s JB30 variety earned accolades for its exceptional attributes. Beyond accolades, Blushke’s berries hold cultural significance, deeply rooted in Indigenous history and cherished for their nutritional benefits.

In recent years, Saskatoon Berries have surged in popularity, propelled by their nutritional profile and versatility in culinary applications. Their deep purple hue signifies a rich reservoir of antioxidants and essential nutrients, outshining even the esteemed blueberry.

As consumer demand escalates, Blushke remains at the forefront of the Saskatoon berry resurgence. Through partnerships with organizations like STEP, he navigates the challenges of a growing market, ensuring a steady supply of berries to meet increasing demands.

Blushke said he is grateful for the help and support provided by STEP. “I totally commend STEP, they look after a small, private business like mine…They have a whole crew of people and they’re willing to help me with marketing, and conference and meetings.”

Read the full story in the Spring 2024 edition of Global Ventures (pg. 16)!