Every year around this time (June 17) the juneberry trees in the streets of Ann Arbor are ripe.
Juneberries - variously shadbush, shadberry, or serviceberry, depending on where you're from - are iron ore pellet sized, dark purple when ripe, slightly sweet with soft seeds inside that are vaguely almondy. They are not delicious, not in the sense that strawberries are delicious, but they are good to grab a handful of and snack on as you're walking down the street. If you have lots and lots of these berries (also called saskatoons), you can make a pie out of them - make a two crust pie, with a filling of 3.5 cups juneberries to 3/4 cup of sugar and 2 Tbs of flour. Here's a video from Wild Food Plants about Aunt Marilyn's Juneberry Pie. You can also dry them and use them like dried blueberries - if you get any of them home, or you can pound them with buffalo meat (from your favorite local supplier of buffalo meat) and make pemmican.
In addition, if you have surplus juneberries *and* surplus grasshoppers, and a taste for them both, there's a traditional Utah Indian recipe for "grasshopper fruitcake":
Edwin Bryant15 (circa 1848) provided one of the few assessments of grasshopper palatability by a white. following an encounter with Utah Indians, an occasion when three women appeared, "bringing baskets containing a substance, which, upon examination, we ascertained to be service-berries, crushed to a jam and mixed with pulverized grasshoppers. This composition being dried in the sun until it becomes hard, is what may be called the 'fruitcake' of these poor children of the desert. No doubt these women regarded it as one of the most acceptable offerings they could make to us. We purchased all they brought with them, paying them in darning needles and other small articles, with which they were much pleased. The prejudice against the grasshopper 'fruitcake' was strong at first, but it soon wore off, and none of the delicacy was thrown away or lost .... After being killed, they [the grasshoppers] are baked before the fire or dried in the sun, and then pulverized between smooth stones. Prejudice aside, I have tasted what are called delicacies, less agree able to the palate."
The secret to juneberry picking in Ann Arbor is to know that you can have a big pile of delicious berries simply by walking across town in such a way that you hit a series of trees in order, no need to backtrack. Here's the juneberry tour:
Start at Zingerman's Deli on Detroit St. If you can't find it, ask a native, they'll be glad to direct you there, they're used to it. The juneberry trees are around the side on Kingsley St. Stop inside, ask if they have any juneberry jam for sale, furrow your brow disappointedly if they don't, taste something else thoughfully, then head out the front and pick more from a tree on Detroit St.
Keep heading up Detroit St and cross over to Farmer's Market, open Weds. and Sat. Look around the stalls, ask the farmers nicely if their juneberry crop is good this year, furrow your brow when they say they won't have any at market, admire the solar panels, pick up from spinach from Shannon, and then walk towards the Ann Arbor Observer on Catherine St. You'll find more berries on the side of that building, they are a bit shaded so they ripen later. Pick a small box full, head back to market, put a price tag on it, sell it - PROFIT!
Cross back toward Fifth Avenue, head over Huron St and towards the Bank of Ann Arbor. With your newfound gains make a deposit, but only after you do your harvest from the trees in front of the bank.
Keep heading south on Fifth heading towards the Ann Arbor District Library, but stop before you get there at the Library Lot parking lot and admire the prolific trees there. Consider whether the downtown library project plans for that surface lot which call for a structure to be built on that lot preserve the fruiting trees which are so characteristic of historical Ann Arbor.
Head into the library, and start figuring out what you are going to do to preserve those berries for the winter. Check the juneberry tag in the catalog; if you don't find anything, go to the MEL inter-library loan, search for Juneberry, and end up with Jacque Ferron's "The Juneberry Tree". Sit and eat your berries until it arrives.