[NAFEX] Blackberry

Jim Fruth jfruth at uslink.net
Sun Jul 23 08:59:38 EDT 2006

    Heron sent me Bangor and Thibodeau in exchange for my boysenberry.  Sam
Fiazzo (sp.?) from Southern Wisconsin sent me his "dewberry" plus I got some
Doyle from Indiana.  I don't expect to see any fruiting from any of these
until next year.  First, I'm curious to see which, if any, survive the
winter without winter protection.
    My Fort Kent fruited in its first year and, this year, it is
extravagantly productive.  Trouble is that it is not winter-hardy here (zone
3b).  I've got it planted adjacent to the street (I live in town) so the
curl from the snowplow hits it - then I go by with my snowblower and blow
the rest of the snow atop it because any part of Fort Kent that protrudes
above the snow-line gets fried.
    As for Minnesota stock, I have collected 7± species (plus varieties
within any given species) from the wild; I say "from the wild" which
includes possible garden escapes from any of the many abandoned homesteads
in this area.  I evaluate all aspects before entering any breeding program
with those that produce soft fruit and those that experience unpredictable
production being weeded out first.
    The most interesting plant produces, on average, about 500 fruits and
less than 50 tiny leaves.  Since leaves make the sugar, one might think that
the fruit would be extremely sour but not so.  It has a sweet delicate
flavor, unlike the usual blackberry taste.  Since it only produces a few
druplets per berry (less than 25) I may keep it just for the novelty of it.
    I have one variety of one species that I do sell plants from.  The
berries aren't quite as big as Fort Kent (it has fewer druplets per berry)
and it doesn't produce quite as many fruits as Fort Kent but the plant only
achieves 5' of height as compared to Fort Kent's 7'.  It has an acceptable
number of small, relatively soft thorns.   It is winter hardy with a
good-tasting berry that hangs on until harvested.
    Occasionally, I encounter folks who assert that they do not want a plant
that was gleaned from the wild; I don't understand that thinking because
they all came from the wild at one time or another.

Jim Fruth
Brambleberry Farm
Pequot Lakes, MN
Jams, Jellies and Syrups
(218)568-8483 [Store]
(218)831-7018 [My cell]


Did you get a hold of the blackberry Herron Breen was distributing last
spring?  The few I picked up seem to be taking off.

What's the origin and description of yours?

Steve H.  Lone Rock, WI USDA zone 3


More information about the nafex mailing list