[NAFEX] Blueberries vs. Blackberries

Michael Dossett phainopepla at yahoo.com
Thu Aug 7 12:25:31 EDT 2008


Commercial machine harvesters don't have trouble destroying the canes as you describe for one simple reason, they don't force the primocanes to the ground as you do.  They let the primocanes stay erect and they go through the machine as does the rest of the plant.  The machine harvester goes over the row shaking the plant and catching the fruit as it falls so any canes that are erect just go through the harvester mostly unharmed.  On the trailing blackberries, the growers just make sure that the canes are on the ground in the rows rather than the paths so that they aren't damaged by the harvester.  There is some acreage here in Oregon in alternate year production but most growers are on an every year system.

Having said that, the machine harvesters are an expensive investment and they just wouldn't be feasible for such a small operation as yours.


Michael Dossett
Corvallis, Oregon
phainopepla at yahoo.com

--- On Thu, 8/7/08, Jim Fruth <jfruth at tds.net> wrote:

> From: Jim Fruth <jfruth at tds.net>
> Subject: [NAFEX] Blueberries vs. Blackberries
> To: "NAFEX" <nafex at lists.ibiblio.org>
> Date: Thursday, August 7, 2008, 6:40 AM
> 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 
> blueberries.
>     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?
> Jim Fruth
> Brambleberry Farm
> Pequot Lakes, MN  56472
> For jams, jellies & syrups:
> www.bberryfarm.com
> (877)265-6856 [Store]
> (218)831-7018 [My Cell] 
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