Notes from the Farm: Blackberries at Eckert's
I love blackberries. Blackberries are native to this area and as a result, they thrive in our Midwest climate. Wild blackberries can be found along the roadside and the edge of woods in many areas. I can remember picking wild blackberries as a child, what a painful experience. The plants were covered with thorns and the berries were the size of raisins. It would take forever to get enough for desert. Fortunately, growers and breeders have made great strides improving varieties and growing systems so the picking experience is enjoyable (and injury free).
At Eckert’s, we grow 14 acres of blackberries. The varieties we grow are Prime Ark Freedom, Natchez, Quachita, Triple Crown and Chester all of which are thornless varieties. Blackberry season usually starts the second week of June and continues through mid-August. We grow our blackberries on a “rotating trellis”. One of the greatest challenges picking blackberries is finding the fruit hiding in the thick foliage of the bush. By using our rotating trellis, we can change the position of the plant through the spring. This encourages the flowers to position on one side of the blackberry bush. Once bloom is over, we reposition the plants in an upright position so the fruit hangs on one side of the plant creating a wall of blackberries. Now blackberries are one of the easiest crops to harvest. Kids love picking blackberries too. This is one of the few crops that is easy for folks of any height to pick. The berries are hanging from one foot off the ground to six feet.
I invite you to bring the whole family out to our farm and experience this amazing crop. You will fall in love with blackberries too.
Visit our Crop Update page for more information on our picking schedule.