Prairie Berries is the largest grower, processor and marketer of Saskatoon berries hidden away in a small rural community called Keeler, which is 50 km northwest of Moose Jaw on highway 42 west. Prairie Berries is operated by Ken and Sandy Purdy, 3rd generation farmers wanting to make a difference in reducing our environmental foot print by taking what we grow and processing it into healthy, nutritional, gourmet products for consumers right here in the province of Saskatchewan. Over the years we have expanded our business into an ingredient company specializing in Saskatoon berry products for the functional food and nutraceutical companies.
This expansion not only included larger facilities, larger orchards, more partnerships, but also involved countless years of research to prove what we suspected about Saskatoon berries based on the rich history of aboriginal use of the berry for medicinal purposes. Our goal was to assess the relationship between significant levels of bio-active compounds in Saskatoon berries and the role they played in the prevention and treatment of chronic human diseases. Next we examined how we could develop and diversify Saskatoon berries into high value ingredient applications as a superfruit in beverages, smoothies, nutrition bars, energy drinks, cereals and dairy.
In the chart above we are using an ORAC assay to determine the antioxidant potential of foods. It is an in vitro test that can measure to what degree a substance of interest can scavenge various free radicals.
Our quest to get the Saskatoon berries, bursting with diverse functionality and health benefits known worldwide in the superfruit category has been a long haul. Yes we even did the CBC Dragon's Den show to help with exposure. And yes, Arlene Dickenson believed in our cause, however, at the end of the day it was not to be. We are not quite there yet, but one day soon you will see Saskatoon berries right along side of the acai, noni, goji and other exotic superfruits.