Name change is "berry" insulting

Staff ~ The Prince Albert Daily Herald
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Sometimes it’s all about the principle of the matter, and that is certainly the case with our beloved saskatoon berry.

In case you haven’t heard, there is a movement underway by our friends to the south to rename the saskatoon berry as juneberry. It seems that some people in the United States seem to have trouble spelling it, or even saying it, so they want to dumb down the name.

Really? Saskatoon is that hard to pronounce OR spell? Well that must be disheartening news to our much closer friends to the south in the city named after the berry. The Saskatoon Tourism Board must be in a panic over the number of Americans not visiting their city because they can’t say or spell it.

The whole thing is just so typically American. Rather than change, learn, adapt to the rest of the world, if they can’t figure something out just use something different that is easier for them to manage. See Metric system vs. imperial as exhibit A.

Oh, and it isn’t illiterate hicks leading the charge to make the change, but the learned folks at Cornell University who are spearheading the effort to get Canadian producers to change the name of the berry in their marketing efforts in the United States. Those marketing efforts are no small berries, as Canada’s production of jun…er, sasktoon berries dwarfs U.S. production. And, to top off the audacity of such a request, the Cornell Cooperative Extension only began growing jun…er, saskatoon berries in 2010, using saskatoon berry plants from Canada.

In a country where our Canadian culture is often dictated to us by our behemoth neighbour to the south, this is yet another slap in the face, or maybe more like a flick of the ear, but it is still annoying.

Rather than Cornell suggesting an educational campaign to raise the spectre of this berry, which is verging on superfood status, they want the world to change to suit their American needs.

Saskatchewan isn’t exactly easy to spell or say either, so will their be a request from an American institution of higher learning to change the name for the sake of Americans just too confused to handle the mouthful?

Unfortunately, since the almighty dollar is often the driving force of decisions no matter what side of the border someone is on, this effort probably will have Canadian producers labeling their saskatoon berries as juneberries in their marketing south of the border. If that is the term that sells, it’s likely that is the term marketers will use.

All superfoods apparently need easy names to spell like pomegranates, or easy names to say like acai, or easy names to spell and say like quinoa. So, it is understandable that saskatoons are just a bit too tough.

Let’s hold on to as many Canadianisms as we can, and now move the cherished saskatoon berry to the top of the list.


Prince Albert Daily Herald

Organizations: Saskatoon Tourism Board, Cornell University, Cornell Cooperative Extension Prince Albert Daily Herald

Geographic location: United States, Saskatoon, Canada Saskatchewan

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