Press release from the City of Asheville:
Serviceberries are ripening now — making it a perfect time to learn how to cook with them! In partnership with the Asheville Buncombe Food Policy Council, the City of Asheville’s Office of Sustainability is pleased to unveil a crowd-sourced Asheville Edibles Map and a free serviceberries harvesting/cooking workshop set for June 4.
The City of Asheville is home to many tasty edible plantings on public property, including a healthy population of serviceberries, paw paws and persimmons. You will find serviceberry trees in many of Asheville’s parks, such as Park Square Park and Carrier Park. This native edible species is well adapted to our climate and feeds humans and birds alike.
Serviceberries are early fruiting trees, fruiting from late May into June. Because of this, some people call them June berries.
We encourage everyone to enjoy the fruits of this edible tree in our public parks, which supports the use of edible landscaping within the City’s Food Policy Action Plan. The trees and their berries are free of any City-applied chemical.
A free serviceberry workshop is offered from 5:30 to 7 p.m. on Tuesday, June 4 at Senior Opportunity Center, 36 Grove St. While free, reservations are requested at this Eventbrite link.
The June workshop focuses on finding, harvesting and preparing Serviceberries. These early season fruits, also known as Saskatoons or June berries, are ripe for the picking. Come learn what to do with them!
This workshop will help participants identify serviceberry trees in the community, know when to pick the ripe fruits, and give some easy cooking instruction to eat fresh, prepared, jellied, or frozen berries throughout the year. Workshop attendees will have a chance to win a potted serviceberry tree!
Instructors are Tom Celona and Cathy Cleary. Tom is a fruit and nut enthusiast who has a special place in his heart for finding, picking and eating tasty edibles all around the city. Cathy is a local chef and author. Her recent book, “Southern Harvest Cookbook,” explores the tasty culinary traditions of our region.
Stay tuned for details for the fall session featuring tasty paw paw and persimmons fruits.
Asheville Edibles Map
In 2018, Asheville Buncombe Food Policy and Asheville City staff conducted an Asheville edibles inventory to locate and identify edibles on City property. From that, staff created an Asheville Edibles Map, which features local community gardens and parks where edible or fruiting plants are located throughout the city. The map incorporates a crowd-source platform, meaning you can add to it. We invite residents to add sites where edibles are available to the public and ask that entries be only those sites that are on your land or on public land. Photos are encouraged along with descriptions of the edibles on site.
The map can be accessed on a smartphone or computer. Visit ashevillenc.gov/ashevilleediblesmap.
For more information, contact Asheville Sustainability Officer Amber Weaver at AWeaver@AshevilleNC.gov or Asheville Buncombe Food Policy Council Coordinator, Kiera Bulan at firstname.lastname@example.org.