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Berries Picked From 606 Turn Into 1-Day-Only Miko's Ice Treat

By Alisa Hauser | July 6, 2017 5:47am
 Serviceberry ice will be for sale at Miko's Italian Ice next week.
Serviceberry ice will be for sale at Miko's Italian Ice next week.
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Miko's Italian Ice

BUCKTOWN — Ice treats using serviceberries picked from trees along The 606's Bloomingdale Trail will be making a return for only one day Wednesday at Miko's Ice.

All profits from sales of Miko's limited-edition Serviceberry Ice will benefit the Friends of the Bloomingdale Trail, a nonprofit group that helps to organize and advocate for communities along the 2.7-mile elevated path and serves as the park system's advisory council.

The serviceberries used in the ice cups were picked by 15 volunteers who collected a large cooler worth of berries on the Bloomingdale Trail and throughout Chicago. In June, the Friends of the Bloomingdale Trail also hosted a foraging event on the trail, according to Benjamin Helphand, president of the Friends of the Bloomingdale Trail's Board of Directors.

Also known by the name juneberry, the serviceberry tastes like a mild blueberry and is slightly nutty and sweet, Helphand said.

Last year's first annual "Berries for Bloomingdale" event resulted in the ice selling out within a few hours, a problem that Helphand said he hopes will not happen again if sizes are restricted to small cups only. 

"People really loved it and were enthusiastic [last year]. We will limit it to the small size, so more can participate and try it. People that got to taste the ice said they thought it tasted like nothing else they've ever tasted before. It's ethereal and only available for a brief moment," Helphand said.

Miko's Serviceberry Ice will be offered from noon to 10 p.m. July 12 while supplies last.

Miko’s locations in Logan Square, 2236 N. Sacramento Ave., and Bucktown, 1846 N. Damen Ave., will sell the ice, which ranges in size from small ($3) to large ($6.50), though large will likely not sold if there is a strong demand again.

The berries, which grow all over the city and not just on the trail, are ripe only for a few short weeks in early summer.

Now that more people know that serviceberries are edible, they are picking them off trees on the trail and elsewhere, Helphand said.

The money raised by the Berries for Bloomingdale event will go toward new programming. Previous events offered by the volunteer group have included a winter clothing drive, kids activities at the 606's block party and camping along the trail.

For more details, visit the "Berries for the Bloomingdale Trail" event page.