Blackberry season is finally here! For a select few weeks, the Apple Barn will be selling limited amounts of blackberries. They can be purchased by the quart for $8.00. In the orchard, there are three different types of blackberries growing, and each quart in our market is a mix of each type. Learn about all 3 cultivars and get to know these delicious berries before you consume them!
The three different cultivars of blackberries found in the orchard are Apache, Cherokee, and Navaho. Blackberries can be classified as erect thornless, erect thorned, or semi-erect thorned. All of the berries at Kimmel are categorized as erect thornless. Thornless blackberries are less hardy than the thorned berries, meaning they do not withstand cold temperatures and spring frosts as well as thorned ones. However, thornless plants make harvesting easier for our employees.
As for erect and semi-erect blackberries, the difference is the support system. Erect blackberries can support themselves and require no other trellis system or support to hold them up. This type of blackberries cut cost in support systems and allow growers to leave the berries alone to simply grow, but the downside is the semi-erect berries produce larger, heavier berries resulting in a need for a support system. As you can see, there are benefits and downsides to each category of blackberries.
Apache blackberries are known to be very productive and often grown for their great flavor, high yields, and larger fruit. Because of their flavor, these are great to eat fresh or even in pies, jellies, and jams. This cultivar is very keen on sunlight and needs plenty of it to produce large, plump berries.
Also known for high yields and large fruits are Cherokee blackberries. These berries tend to be tart! Toss these with a little sugar or bake into your favorite dessert for the perfect balance of sour and sweet.
Another way to balance the tart is through a mix of Cherokee and Navaho blackberries. Navaho berries are much sweeter and help balance tartness. This type can usually be harvested over a 30-day period. Navaho blackberries are said to be the first erect thornless cultivar in the world. They are even advertised as "can be grown without drawing blood".
Each berry provides unique benefits and flavors. As mentioned above, there are limited quantities of blackberries in our store. Visit the Apple Barn to purchase yours today!
Alyssa Rosenbaum - Education and Food Safety Intern