This article originally appeared in the January/February 2013 issue of Foodie News, brought to you by the Public Relations Department of the American Farm Bureau Federation.
Zina Martishev, owner of South Barlow Berries, says the usual order of berry ripening is strawberries, then blueberries and raspberries, followed by blackberries. The farm is introducing an earlier ripening version called Obsidian this year, which is expected to boost berry sales.
The earlier berries are available for harvest, the better, Martishev explained.
“We have a lot of u-pick fields and we also have a little bit that we take to the processing plants, but most of our berries are for u-pickers,” she said.
Blackberries make a low-calorie treat, with just 62 calories in a 1-cup serving. Blackberries are also high in fiber. A 1-cup serving contains 7.6 grams of fiber, more than most fruits.
Martishev says blackberries are being touted as having as much or possibly more antioxidants than blueberries. “It’s just that the promotion is not there yet as it is for blueberries and raspberries,” she said.
According to the American Heart Association, the antioxidants in blackberries can protect eyesight, decrease inflammation, prevent premature mental aging, strengthen the blood vessels, protect the cardiovascular system and decrease risks of developing a variety of chronic illnesses, including forms of cancer, diabetes, hypertension and heart disease.
Available in August, Triple Crown is another blackberry variety. It is three times the size of a regular blackberry, big, black, glossy, sweet and juicy and not as seedy as most blackberries. Triple Crown is great in pies, jam, smoothies, ice cream and for freezing.
South Barlow Berries also supplies some of Oregon’s premier farmers’ markets with farm-fresh berries.
“There is nothing that compares to berries straight from the vine,” said Martishev. “The young children enjoy the blackberries the most at our farm stand, they seem to always want to touch and taste the blackberries more than any other berry.”