[NAFEX] Blueberries vs. Blackberries
jfruth at tds.net
Thu Aug 7 09:40:50 EDT 2008
Mark Angermayer wrote, "What I don't understand is why growers aren't
putting in more blackberries."
Mark, I understand very well. I don't get scratched up when I pick
Most of my blackberries are upright varieties. The seven foot high
fruiting canes are trellised on twine horizontals and most of the primocanes
are growing up in front of them. Before I can pick berries, I've got to
get the primocanes out of the way. To do that, I put on special armor for
my sleeves and puncture-proof gloves. Bunches of primocanes are gathered
together in bundles, forced to the ground (some break) and weighted down
with heavy fence posts. The bundles need to be spaced apart because, when I
pick, I step over each bundle to a bare space of ground where I can stand
without crushing primocanes. Then, bundles from the next row need to be
meshed with the bundles of the first row - I've got eight rows. The
particularly troublesome primocanes are those that grow upright
inter-meshing with the fruiting canes; I have to, somehow, tie these out of
the way to prevent getting scratched when I'm picking.
Now who wants to do all that and pick too? I only do it to avoid the
high price of blackberry fruit for our jelly.
These blackberries need to be hand picked because, if they are to be
machine picked, the primocanes would have to be removed because the picking
machine would destroy them by continually running over them. If machine
picked, you'd need two patches because, when you remove the primocanes, that
patch won't bear again until two years from now.
When primocane bearing blackberries become commonplace, machines can
pick them and the price will plummet. In the mean time, we'll keep picking
by hand wishing they were as convenient to harvest as blueberries.
How does anyone else harvest their blackberries?
Pequot Lakes, MN 56472
For jams, jellies & syrups:
(218)831-7018 [My Cell]
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