Aunt Marilyn’s Juneberry Pie

“If you truly love nature, you’ll find beauty everywhere.”
-van Gogh

Welcome to North Dakota! A land kissed with beautiful sunsets, a famous International Peace Garden, and a wild wind that whips through its prairie wildflowers. I’ve been visiting some of my relatives here, all of whom are farmers. Their connection with the land runs deep, and I am grateful they have shared their stories. The photo above is of bee balm/bergamot (Monarda fistulosa). It was blooming profusely and I harvested a large supply, of which I will use the dried leaves as a cooking herb, and the flower tops for a medicinal tea. The video below also highlights echinacea/purple coneflower (Echinacea angustifolia), common milkweed (Asclepias syriaca), and juneberries/saskatoons/serviceberries (Amelanchier alnifolia). My Great Aunt Marilyn shows us how to make her famous juneberry pie. She, my Grandmother Jeanne, and their sister Joyce, spent many hours harvesting juneberries as children near their buffalo ranch in northwestern North Dakota.

Aunt Marilyn’s Juneberry Pie

3 ½ c juneberries
¾ c sugar
2 T flour

2-crust pie shell:
2 c flour
¾ c butter-flavored Crisco
dash salt
5 T cold water

Mix flour, Crisco and salt in mixing bowl. Add cold water one tablespoon at a time, and do not overmix. Split dough into 2 pieces. Roll out first crust dough onto floured surface and place into pie pan. Mix filling in a mixing bowl and place into pie pan. Roll out your second crust and place on top of pie filling. Fold over crust edges, press with fork, and poke fork holes on top to allow pie to breathe. Sprinkle top with a bit of sugar and bake for one hour in preheated 400° oven. Cool for 2 hours and serve.

5 replies
  1. Don Gartman
    Don Gartman says:

    I am a member of a West Virginia Wild Foods group. We meet each month and bring wild foods for tasting and learning. We have June Berries also but usually refer to the locally as Service Berries…the trees (Amalanchier spp.) usually bloomed in the early spring when the “itinerant preachers” could ride up the mountain roads to provide Church “service” for the mountaineers. On the east coast the trees are called “shad bushes”, because this is about the time the delicious American Shad begins its migration from the sea to the headwaters of rivers to spawn.
    Do you have a list of favorite North Dakota Wild Foods? Thank You!

  2. sunny
    sunny says:

    Hi Don,

    thanks soooo much for the juneberry/serviceberry/shad berry info. I’ve also heard them called saskatoon’s. I would say they are in my list of favorites, along with saguaro cactus fruits. But, that’s not ND! hmmm, I actually haven’t spent a whole lot of time up there…usually quick trips to see the family, besides living in Fargo for a few years when I was young. Anyways, take care and I really hope to attend the WV Wild Food Weekend someday.

    much love, ~sunny

  3. sunny
    sunny says:

    Hi Edward!

    Do you have a link to your urban berry foraging project? Would be cool to share with folks. I’m really hoping I’ll be in northern MN long enough to enjoy them here…otherwise I’m heading to the prairies of Nebraska/Kansas in 2 weeks. Alrighty, take care and enjoy those berries! cheers, ~sunny

  4. Khono
    Khono says:

    Hey Sunny, do you know the specific species of juneberry? The reason I’m asking is ’cause I’m building (very slowly) a Wild Edible Plants (I just realized how similar that is to your site name) wiki here:

    I want to make sure I’m linking to the right plants. The Plants for a Future site lists 3 different plants with the name juneberry with slightly varying edibility.

    Again, thanks for your time!



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