Blackberry growers in the Northwest have just about finished setting their crop. The bloom is in its final stages and reports indicate that at this moment, a good season is ahead for both Washington and Oregon. Subsequent weather conditions have aided the crop, allowing the fruit to mature and size up well.
"We are close to finishing up our bloom on many of the blackberry varieties, with our Evergreen variety just beginning to bloom," said Jeff Peterson of Columbia Fruit in Washington. "The weather has been pretty decent and the fruit is sizing up nicely. Of course there is still a long way to go until the start of the season and we are very much in danger of thunderstorms that can damage the crop. Therefore we have to wait a little longer before we can accurately predict volumes for the season."
First harvest due in a few weeks
Peterson added that the bloom occurred on time this year. "There were no delays and bloom happened very close to schedule," he said. This means that the harvest season is just around the corner. "Our blackberry season is due to start on June 20 and it goes for just over a month."
Some of the varieties Columbia Fruit grows include Black Diamond, Columbia Star, Obsidian, Nightfall, Evergreen, Chester, Hull, Sylvan, Kotata, and Navajo, and it offers a number of packaging options. "The Black Diamond and Columbia Star are thorn-less varieties which we have had for a while now," Peterson shared. "We offer blackberries in packaging options for retail and industrial customers as well as a puree."
Marionberry season also looking promising
An Oregon specialty, the Marionberry is a type of blackberry that was developed by Oregon State University. It is considered to have a more intense flavor but shorter shelf life compared with regular blackberries, adding to its special status. Columbia Fruit's Marionberry season is also expected to start soon.
"The Marionberry is a specialty from Oregon," Peterson shared. "We have grower partners that supply us with Marionberry, the season of which parallels that of our blackberry season - from about mid-late June through July."