Most Viewed Stories
CROP OF THE WEEK: BLACKBERRIES
• Current acreage in Yuma devoted to blackberry production is limited to those niche producers who grow blackberries primarily for the local market. Among them is Silvas Farms, which now has blackberries for sale or U-pick at 3392 W. County 16-1/2 St. southwest of Yuma. For more information, call 446-8706.
• The fruit is very dark purple with smooth, fragile skin. In the middle of the cluster is a greenish-white core that extends to almost the bottom of the berry. Blackberries can be easily confused with raspberries, but raspberries (including black raspberries) have a hollow center.
• Blackberries fresh from the vines are delicious in frozen packs, canned, as blackberry wine, ice cream, fresh blackberry juice, blackberry pies, blackberry jelly, blackberry jam – and best of all when eaten as a fresh fruit.
• Blackberries are rich in antioxidants and vitamins and also a good source of potassium, phosphorus, iron and calcium. They have concentrations of phytoestrogens that are thought to help prevent breast and cervical cancer.
• The blackberry is a widespread and well known shrub – a bramble fruit (genus Rubus, family Rosaceae) growing up to 10 feet tall and producing a soft-bodied fruit popular for making jams and sometimes wine. Several Rubus species are called blackberry and since the species easily hybridizes, there are many cultivars with more than one species in their ancestry.
• Blackberry vines and bushes grow in the native state on every continent except Australia and Antarctica. Much of the first modern blackberry variety development was done in America, beginning with Judge Logan of California in 1880 and the release and introduction of the loganberry.
• Much of the early American blackberry hybridization was done by Luther Burbank, who introduced his Phenomenal Berry and even a white blackberry, but it was too soft to successfully ship commercially.
• The famous Knott's Berry Farm, which attracted 3.654 million visitors in 2011, sits on the site of a former berry farm established by Walter Knott and his family. Beginning around 1920, the Knott family sold berries, berry preserves and pies from a roadside stand, and the business eventually grew into the current-day theme park. The J.M. Smucker Co. continues to sell jellies, jams and preserves under the Knott's Berry Farms brand name made with the tried-and-true recipes and farm-fresh fruit that made the name famous.