I spent a few hours earlier today picking black currants- at about 45 minutes per quart, it is slow business.
There are still more on there which haven’t ripened yet, but the birds were starting to pick them. In fact, one bird came by while I was picking, but wisely turned around when he saw me sitting on a bucket on the other side of the bush.
This year’s observations:
Consort- Very productive. Got 2 quarts from the first third 3 bushes growing in a hedge (3-4’ spacing) in the 7 years since I planted them. Maybe 2/3 of the berries are ripe. In the past, I’ve found that consort makes a very flavorful jam and is particularly nasty fresh. But, I don’t really like any black currants fresh, so I’ve actually given up on sampling them (too much spitting…).
Ben Sarek- Looking very promising. The plant is very small, even though it is in its 3rd leaf. But it is packed with large fruit. Much quicker to pick than Consort due to the fruit size, though it was almost packed too tightly (like a tight bunch of grapes). Even at just over 1 foot tall, I got almost 1/2 a pint, with a bit more remaining unripe.
Titania- Nice strong growth from a young plant. Decent amount of berries.
Black Reward- Nice growth on a young plant, but not that many fruits.
Blackdown- I remember this one doing better in the past. It doesn’t look like it has that much fruit on it. And it seems like it is ripening a bit later, as quite a few are still green (hence why I skipped picking it).
Edit: I see a bunch of empty strings in the picture. I wonder if birds have been preferentially hitting this bush. That would explain why the yield would look so low…
Goliath- Another mature bush (7 years old). Got about 1 pint, so it is not all that productive. It also has some sort of fungal problem where the berries dry out and rot. I’ve seen this (rot and low production) each year on it and should probably get rid of it.
Strata- Looks to have the same kind of rot as Goliath, except it is worse. A small, open plant which has worse rot will probably not get better with time. I think it was a bit earlier than the others, as there weren’t many un-ripe berries left.
Minaj Smyreu- Ran out of time and forgot to check it out.