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First they came for the Saskatoon berries, and I said nothing....
June 8, 2004 5:53 PM   Subscribe

As if mad cow wasn't enough. The UK has pulled saskatoon berries from store shelves while they decide if the berries are safe to eat. If not, my family in Saskatchewan should be dead by now. The UK Food Standards Agency is looking for your views on these cute little berries. So juicy, so tasty, so purple. How can you say no?
posted by Salmonberry (32 comments total)

 
I ate zillions of them straight off the bush as a kid. I'm still here.
posted by mcwetboy at 5:58 PM on June 8, 2004


me too! i'm still somewhere.
posted by quonsar at 6:05 PM on June 8, 2004


Mmmm. Saskatoon berries. Not as good as Salmon berries, mind you, but still delightfully delicious, and much more readily available.
posted by jacquilynne at 6:21 PM on June 8, 2004


1. I'm in the UK, and have never seen these so-called 'berries'.
2. Where in the FSA page does it say they've removed them from (the few) shelves they were on to start with?
3. Prefabricated media storm in a jamjar, anyone?
posted by dash_slot- at 6:38 PM on June 8, 2004


I eated the purple berry.

It tastes like... burning.

/ralph
posted by synecdoche at 7:05 PM on June 8, 2004


dash_slot, it's in the first link: "Britain's Food Standard Agency has taken saskatoon berry products off store shelves and ordered a full pre-market safety evaluation". And media storm? How dare you! The residents of Regina are enraged! Sort of. I guess. I bet a couple of them are.

And jacquilynne, I agree with your evaluation. That's why my nick wasn't saskatoon berry (and salmonberry just sounded better).
posted by Salmonberry at 7:08 PM on June 8, 2004


2. Where in the FSA page does it say they've removed them from (the few) shelves they were on to start with?

Nowhere. There is a call for consultation - I have no idea where this is going to go, but no UK food standards site seems to be demanding removal from sale.
posted by dash_slot- at 7:48 PM on June 8, 2004


And now a Saskatchewan moment for all you folks from the big city...

"So where's yer family from, Salmonberry?"
(Probable response = one of the hundreds of towns with a population of 500 or less)
"Oh..."
(Further response = "it's near..." one of a dozens towns with a population of 2000 or less)
"Oh yeah. I know John Smith from there."
"Yeah, that's my uncle/former teacher/farm implement dealer."

PS - I'm from Indian Head. It's forty minutes east of Regina on the #1 highway so it's not as obscure as some small Saskatchewan towns.)

PPS - my wife's family grows Saskatoon berries. Mmmmm!
posted by Jaybo at 8:05 PM on June 8, 2004


Something I do not have in my gardens. I must add this. If I find room. I'll never have time to pick them, but I bet birds like them.
posted by bargle at 8:10 PM on June 8, 2004


My dad knows the location of almost every saskatoon tree in Ontario, including a grove near the Niagara Falls airtram parking lot. I should find some plants for his birthday in July.

I know salmonberries as cloudberries and they're like hyper-lychees. Glad I still have some jam from Finland... plus some hard-to-find Arctic brambleberry preserves.
posted by myopicman at 8:14 PM on June 8, 2004


Enough to keep one Running Back to Saskatoon, eh?
posted by Oriole Adams at 9:05 PM on June 8, 2004


Google tells me that Saskatoon berries are what I knew, growing up in Western Montana, as Serviceberries. You would often find them growing wild alongside Choke cherries. I was always fond of Choke cherries. Or Choke cherry jam, anyway.

Good luck getting anybody to import Choke cherries in their raw form, though. "Edible but astringent" is putting it mildly.
posted by event at 9:43 PM on June 8, 2004


Jaybo, it's like you're a mindreader. I know that conversation all too well.

dash_slot, you don't fool me. You're one of the anti-berrians, aren't you? I can tell these things. Sure, you hide behind your logical arguments and demands of the "facts", but the Canadians in the UK shall dress in purple and march the streets demanding open choice for berries!

I hope. That'd be awesome.
posted by Salmonberry at 10:28 PM on June 8, 2004


Eat Salmonberry.
posted by eyeballkid at 10:42 PM on June 8, 2004


Support for choosing the next clear direction life offers even when this feels risky and you imagine it could be the death of you. Be present and alert. This will enable you to learn and remain safe during the process. I AM willingness to risk for attaining my highest purpose.

All your salmonberries are belong to us.
posted by filmgoerjuan at 11:08 PM on June 8, 2004


If these things were on my supermarket sheles at all they were in the freak section along with tinned crab and peanut butter.
posted by vbfg at 12:18 AM on June 9, 2004


Before I believe this story, I will need to see evidence that that the pesky little buggers ever had a place on any UK supermarket shelf.

Smells like a clever marketing campaign to me.
posted by Fat Buddha at 1:04 AM on June 9, 2004


I spent a wholly depressing amount of time working in UK supermarkets. Never heard of these things.
posted by influx at 1:43 AM on June 9, 2004


I can assure you mad cow was quite enough!
posted by johnnyboy at 2:02 AM on June 9, 2004


I spent a wholly depressing amount of time working in UK supermarkets. Never heard of these things.

This must mean it's a government conspiracy to hide the Saskatoon berries from the British consumer in favour of their lesser-quality cousins, Luton berries!
posted by DrJohnEvans at 5:12 AM on June 9, 2004


You must try some of my purple berries
I been eating them for six or seven weeks now
Haven't got sick once
Probably keep us both alive
posted by grateful at 9:16 AM on June 9, 2004


the freak section along with tinned crab and peanut butter.
Peanut butter itself or "tinned" is a "freak" food in the Uk?
posted by thomcatspike at 9:48 AM on June 9, 2004


Salmonberries = disgusting. Nasty taste.

Saskatoons = slightly less disgusting. Too many seeds, too dry.

Blueberries = God's Own Food. In either their huckleberry form or their petite wild form.
posted by five fresh fish at 10:39 AM on June 9, 2004


Some saskatoon berry bushes have posionous leaves during part of the year. It may be that a leaf or two contaminated a jar of jam or something leading to the alert. More likely is just goverment over reaction to a locally unknown product.

And if SK is going to be dumping steak and kidney pie I'm going to be there to pick it up. Yummy!
posted by Mitheral at 10:58 AM on June 9, 2004


I'm with Fat Buddha...PepsiBlueFilter!

Probably worth pointing out to some dumb arses that no tea - 'English Breakfast' (a blend) or otherwise - is actually grown in England.
posted by i_cola at 11:23 AM on June 9, 2004


Peanut butter itself, thomcatspike, according to my parents. It's probably there along with white food vinegar (rather than cleaning vinegar) and louisiana hot sauce (not available at UK KFC -- in fact, they don't even know what the hell it is). :-)
posted by shepd at 11:29 AM on June 9, 2004


Mitheral, please provide documentation that saskatoon leaves are poisonous to humans. This is the first I've ever heard it, and I am extremely doubtful.
posted by five fresh fish at 1:37 PM on June 9, 2004


FFF, maybe it is like the poison in rhubarb leaves.
posted by thomcatspike at 4:52 PM on June 9, 2004


Sure, maybe. If so, why haven't I heard of it? Rhubarb leaves, potato leaves, several houseplants, a bunch of wild part-edibles: these I know about.

I should think if saskatoon leaves were poisonous, this Canuck boy who grew up in the country might have heard about it. But maybe not.

Either way, a quick googling didn't turn up anything except a couple rare mentions of it being bad for some livestock, and only when eaten in gross quantities.
posted by five fresh fish at 5:59 PM on June 9, 2004


I have always wanted to visit the far-off land of Saskatchewan since a classmate went there and came back with a hat saying "Saskatchewan: The Land of Rape and Honey"
posted by Pseudoephedrine at 4:49 AM on June 10, 2004


five fresh fish: Either way, a quick googling didn't turn up anything except a couple rare mentions of it being bad for some livestock, and only when eaten in gross quantities.

This is it. My only source is from when I worked fixing fences one summer. We were supposed to report any saskatoon bushes we saw in pastures so they could be removed. This was supposedly because the ranch had lost a multi thousand dollar bull to the leaves one year. A real whisper down the lane now that I think about it: "whom ever told the vet" -> Vet -> Rancher -> My Bosses Boss -> Cowboy I worked under (who had to be 70 if he was a day and could still out ride me 10 ways from sunday). It's quite possible the bull died some time in the 19th century.

Being brighter than the average cow I always restricted my self to the good tasting berries rather than eating the leaves just to be on the safe side. YMMV.

PS: For those who don't know rape seed is what we used to call canola. Didn't go over well with focus groups. For some reason no one wanted to buy rape oil. They grow lots of it in SK.
posted by Mitheral at 11:25 AM on June 10, 2004


No kidding, Mitheral...I have a photograph from my cross-Canada trip of the sign at the entrance to a small town in Saskatchewan. It advertised the place as "The land of rape and honey".

Needless to say we passed through that town pretty quickly (although I would have liked to stopped for some of the honey).
posted by filmgoerjuan at 7:16 PM on June 12, 2004


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