Favorite Blackberry (with thorns) ? or without

Of the Ark varieties, I have Ouachita already, and plan to add Ponca and Caddo this year, or asap.
I got started on a new bed prep yesterday… broke some ground for the first time this year.

I think that is all of the Ark varieties that I want for now.

I also have a older variety “with thorns” that I have been very happy with. Ilinni, great taste, wild blackberry flavor, but more sweet, and much larger, very productive. Negative, double blossom - they do have some of that, but continue to produce very good. Huge crop last year despite a very wet spring.

A couple years ago Spring 2019 I planted a LoganBerry and last year discovered that it started repining fruit May 25 and produced for nearly 2 months. It is very flavorful, but mostly tart. I love to eat it fresh combined with other sweeter berries, strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, etc…

To me that is such a HUGE plus… now I have a berry that gets ripe, a month earlier than I previously did.

This makes me wonder if there are any other BlackBerries, or BlackBerry/RaspBerry crosses, with thorns or without… that ripen very early ? Or at least start ripening early June ?

I prefer a sweeter berry… I would say 1/3 tart, 2/3 sweet would be my ideal berry.

So that is my question… are there any other berries out there like the LoganBerry that ripens very early ? I was pleasantly surprised to find that. Even though it is quite tart, I will treasure it because it is ripe, when nothing else is. they Freeze well and we are still eating them from last year. Not sure I would want any other mostly tart berries though… one may be enough of that.

Early Ripening Berries ? Late May, or thru June, finishing June or early July.
More sweet, less tart ?
Productive, disease resistant ?
With or without thorns. I really don’t mind thorns at all.

One Green World seems to think that the MarionBerry is a fine berry, but they say it ripens in July. Considering I know that SWD is here late July, that may not work for me.

Just wondering if there are some of you who perhaps favor “thorned” varieties and know of any that might fit what I am looking for.

Anyone growing the Oregon varieties in the East (I am in Tennessee Zone 7a) and know of any that might fit what I am looking for ?

Thanks

TNHunter

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If you are considering buying from OGW out west, then consider the Columbia series of early-ripening blackberries.

Logans require a lot of patience to let fully ripen. They become a very pretty red, but it can take another week to darken and come off the stem with a slight sideways bend, rather than pulling them off when medium red. If allowed to fully ripen, they will be somewhat sweeter.

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My favorite is Kiowa blackberry is an extra large size and tastes great in WA state. I am very thorny but I don’t mind. I just hope it will be productive. you should keep it and try it, it tastes better than my thornless blackberries. I do have one thornless blackberry I keep because its productive.

Yes Larry… I ate lots of Loganberry fresh last year, for around 2 months… and froze 20+ pints, which we have eaten this winter.

I like them alone just fine, but if you eat them mixed with other berries, they raise the flavor level, and the others help with adding sweetness.

I will look into that Columbia Series…

PS… on Loganberry OGW says - Ripens July…
But for me here in TN, Zone 7a, they started ripening May 25 and continued for 2 months.
We ate lots of fresh berries in June…

I wonder why such a difference in actual ripening dates ?


This pic was on June 5


This one May 22. First one to ripen.

Southern Middle TN.

TNHunter

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I wanted one of these eastern hardy blackberries and went with Darrow.

Yes, tayberry is very early for me, probably even earlier for you. The first ripe berry here in zone 5b/6a was June 27th. I had a few ripe. Excellent cross, tastes nothing like a blackberry or raspberry. Low acid, sweet fruit. Boysenberry and it’s close relative wyeberry usually ripen soon after about 10 days. Tart berries with a top rate flavor.

I just started growing Columbia Giant, thornless, a very large berry, more tart than sweet is the description. Ripens fairly early about a week later than Natchez. I want it for processing as nothing is better than blackberry syrup, some tonic and a splash of vodka. In taste tests using a processed slurry with sugar, Columbia Giant beat Marion. That is something as the Marion Berry for fresh eating is the absolute best berry I ever tasted. I have to protect my plant in the winter. I grow it in a 30 gallon root pouch. I dolly it in the garage every winter. The berries are so good, and this has worked well for years for me.
The best Oregon program fruit for me is Newberry. It is a thorny trailing vine, oh Columbia Giant is trailing vine too. Although thornless. Needs support! The Newberry rivals Marion, it has a rich complex blackberry flavor that finishes with a hint of raspberry. Only on dead ripe ones. It took my plant a couple fruiting seasons before I tasted that raspberry aftertaste. Wow! Fantastic! It is not sold anywhere I know at the moment. It is an mid season ripening in mid July. Marion is a week later or longer.

Tayberries

Anastasia Wyeberry

On ripening, blackberries are not fully ripe till the calyx turns a crispy brown. It should fall off with little effort. The harder to remove the more unripe the berry is.

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SeattleFigGirl…

I will look into Kiowa… found this on stark bro site…

Description

The world’s biggest blackberry — up to 3" long! This thorny variety blooms earlier and longer than others. Fruit is large enough to make fresh cobbler with just a few berries. Also great for juice or wine. Summer-bearing floricane. Early season. Ripens in early June. Self-pollinating.

Ripening Early June is one of those key things I am looking for. Pretty sure that late July the SWD fruit fly is going to be a issue for me.

I read several reviews on Stark, and some say the berries are tart… others say they turn black long before they are actually ripe and if you eat them when first black, very tart… and the key to getting sweeter berries is waiting.

I found this statement about Kiowa also…

Kiowa is a thorny upright berry that produces extremely large fruit and 10 can fill a half-pint container. The best quality and best firmness of all varieties. This variety has one of the longest harvest season of all blackberries . Enjoy fruit for six weeks or longer from these vines.

If they start fruting in early june and continue for 6 weeks… it sounds like they might play out about the time the SWD shows up for me. That might work out well.

I will do some more research on this one.

I looked up some Columbia Varieties, and found 3 - Columbia Sunrise seems to indicate it is the earlier berry… but it says it ripens in July one or two weeks before any other. Not sure that would work for me, does not seem to be early enough. Columbia Giant at OGW, says ripens in July.

OGW has Columbia Sunrise, Giant, Star… and they say this about the sunrise variety…

Columbia Sunrise is the earliest ripening of any blackberry and thornless too! Another brilliant creation by Chadd Finn at the USDA and Oregon State University, Columbia Sunrise ripens a full 2 weeks before any other cultivar,

Ripening Time : Late June- July

They do say Late June-July… It would be nice to know exactly when some of these would ripen in my area.

TNHunter

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Here is what Stark has to say about the “Hardy Illini” that I started back in 2003.

Wild-blackberry flavor! Developed by the University of Illinois for northern growers. Plants survive temperatures down to -23º F. Upright growth habit makes this variety easy to maintain in tight spaces. Hardy and vigorous plants produce abundant crops of top-quality fruit. Ripens mid to late July. Self-pollinating Taste -Sweet - Texture Firm.

I would agree with all of that based on my experience growing them since 2003…
Especially the Wild Blackberry flavor (CHECK)… but Sweeter (they say Sweet)… and texture firm… that is all very true for me.

Except for the Ripens part… they say ripens Mid-Late July.

I assume those stats are for up in the Illinois area ? data from the Univ of Illinois trials ?

Well I can tell you for sure that if you plant those in Southern Middle TN (per Google 385.3 miles almost due south of Univ of Ill)… they start Ripening here Mid June… and often produce for 6 weeks or more.

So it sounds like on “Ripening Dates”… approx 400 miles south, moves up your Ripening date about a Month earlier.

Now… I am wondering just how much my actual ripening dates may vary on the Univ or Ark varieties, and the Oregon Varieties…

TNHunter

I purchased my couple of Loganberry plants from OGW… and below is what they have to say about them…

Loganberry

One of the most popular commercial varieties, Loganberry is prized for its rich and delicious flavor. A thornless cross between a Red Raspberry and Blackberry, this very large, maroon berry makes delicious syrup, preserves and pie.
Ripening Time : July

And yet when Planted here in Southern Middle TN, (see Pic above) first ripe fruits May 22, at first trickling in slowly, but by early-mid June, gobs to pick, daily… we ate all the fresh berries we wanted daily for almost two months, and froze a pint or two on a regular basis too.

So I assume the OGW Ripening date, is from Data collected at the Univ of Oregon… which is even more Northward… than Illinois, but on the West Coast.

So in Oregon sounds like Logans ripen July… but in Southern Middle TN… they start ripening May 22, and produce thru June and into July.

That makes me wonder if the other Oregon Varieties (blackberries, or other crosses) would ripen that much earlier for me too… I may have to try some of those to find out.

Anyone Growing any of the Oregon Varieties in Tennessee, that can report on the actual ripening dates for the Volunteer State ?

TNHunter

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PS… the Univ of Ark…looks to be about 50 miles north of my location…

So the Arkansas varieties may ripen a little earlier here too.

Ponca and Caddo are reported to ripen June 6-8 (just after their earliest variety Natchez).

But here in my Southern Middle TN site (50 or so miles south of them), perhaps even earlier.

I started a row of Ouachita last year, have some great looking canes set to fruit this year. Univ of Ark says - Ripens June 12 (average)… so I will see this year, if they actually ripen earlier than that for me.
If they are 3-5-7 days earlier for me, expect that would also apply to Ponca, Caddo.

John Clark the expert from Univ of Ark… said this about (other varieties)…

Blackberry Varieties: What About These?

• Kiowa – thorny but most popular thorny, large berries
• Arapaho – replaced by Natchez; good for deep South, hardiness, yield concerns
• Chickasaw – thorny, less popular than Kiowa of thornies
• Shawnee, Choctaw, Cherokee, Cheyenne,Comanche – considered out of date

Noticed he gave a shout out for the Kiowa… for thorny variety…

TNHunter

The Kiowa is a Univ of Ark variety… and below are some details I found on it that they provided…

Kiowa
Type - Thorny, erect.
Date of Release - 1996; plant patent #9861.
Fruit Size - Largest of the Arkansas varieties; averaging 11 grams/berry, with some berries
up to 13 grams.
Flavor/Sweetness - Good, rated between that of Shawnee and Choctaw; soluble solids
(percent sugar) averages 10 percent.
Yield - High usually equal to or slightly lower than Shawnee.
Maturity Date - Ripens beginning approximately June 12 at Clarksville, Arkansas, and
fruiting extends for six weeks, the longest fruiting of the Arkansas varieties.
Disease Resistance - Reports of double blossom/rosette have been limited to date, but not
expected to be resistant; no orange rust verified; slight anthracnose observed in one year of
testing.
Comments - Storage and handling potential very good, among the best of the thorny
varieties exceeding Shawnee or Choctaw; hardiness similar to other Arkansas varieties;
root cutting sprouting and propagation potential good.

==
Positives - ripens June 12 at their location, may be even earlier for me (50 miles south of them).
Notice SS Sugar 10%

Negatives - disease resistance… Not so strong on resistance to double blossom (as their other thornless varieties).

Here is another of their thornless varieties I have considered… Osage and the details they provide on it.

Osage
Type - Thornless, erect…
Date of Release - 2012; plant patent to be applied for.
Fruit Size - Medium sized, average 4.4 to 5.5 g, smaller than that of ‘Natchez’ but
comparable to that of ‘Ouachita’
Flavor/Sweetness - Consistently good, comparable to higher ratings of ‘Ouachita’; soluble
solids (percent sugar) averages 11.2%
Yield - Yields comparable to or higher than ‘Ouachita’ or ‘Natchez’ in replicated plantings.
Maturity Date - Ripens mid-early averaging around 10 June, between ‘Natchez’ and
‘Ouachita’.
Disease Resistance - No substantial common diseases observed; no orange rust
observed; very limited fruit anthracnose observed; no double blossom/rosette observed.
Comments - Consistently good flavor, even when other cultivars were lacking; consistently
high yields; excellent storage potential for the shipping market.

When it comes to Flavor, the Univ of Ark seems to speak most highly of Ponca, Caddo and Osage.

Positives on Osage… SS Sugar 11.2 (better than Kiowa).
Ripens June 10… may be even earlier for me…
Disease resistance - CHECK - seems to be much stronger than Kiowa on this…

My new bed is 58 ft long… will most likely plant 19 in there… at 3 ft spacing.

Nourse has Ponca, but limits to 5 Max order, They have Caddo too, no Max order mentioned.
Indiana Berry, Ponca- sold out - but they do have Osage & Caddo

Do you all know of a Quality Nursery… where you get Quality plants… that might have all 3 of those.
Ponoca, Caddo, Osage ?

I might just plant 6-7 of each of those… or could split it around 50/50 with just Ponca and Caddo.

I would still consider a variety with thorns, if there is one out there, that might compete with these on flavor, early ripening, and disease resistance. Not sure if Kiowa can actually do that.

Thanks

TNHunter

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I would say everything I mentioned beats them hands down. Not even close. The thornless gene used in the Arkansas cultivars (not used by Oregon, they use another thornless gene) adds a strange grassy taste to the berries. It goes away when fully ripe, but it is near impossible to always pick completely ripe berries. Part of the reason I got rid of all of mine. I will add Ponca because the program says it’s in a league of it’s own. I myself have no desire to grow the others as the other Ark. cutivars left a bad taste in my mouth, pun intended. The only one that evaded SWD here was Natchez. That really is the main reason I removed them. As in general I do pick berries fully ripe and the taste was not that much of an issue. Still I considered them low grade and were used only for syrups. .
I guess it depends what your goals are. For commercial use the Arkansas series works very well. I myself am not looking for store bought flavor. I want something I can’t find there. I’m looking for rich flavors that have multiple layers of flavors. And many western thorny trailing blackberries are like that. Ones I don’t grow like Siskiyou, Black Diamond, and many others are far superior in flavor. At least for me. They are too hard to grow in this zone. So I stick with the ones I mentioned as they are hardy for western types. Here right now we are getting blackberries and blueberries from Chile and I must say they are pretty good! Of course not even close to what I grow, but for store bought, they are not bad.
Just my opinion. I’m very picky about the fruit I grow, only the best possible that can be accomplished in my area. Not just blackberries but all berries and I grow dozens of different berries. Well I just looked at my plant list and I list 100 berry cultivars that I grow. I also noticed I have 26 different plums.
I’m looking for a range in colors to ingest every antioxidant possible. And ones with the richest and best flavors I can find. Amazing what is out there. That’s my goal, and I’m finally there. So I started breeding these things now. I needed a new goal.

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I’ve eaten every blackberry I can get my hands on for my entire life. They might be my favorite fruit of all both fresh and preserved. I don’t think I’ve ever found a cultivar as good as the berries I can find growing wild all over Maryland. In the right spots they are big, incredibly productive and delicious. I quit growing them myself- why bother when I can find more than I could possibly used just minutes away?

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I did that with paw paws. I have 2 x 20 foot trees about 100 yards from my cottage and others within a mile. The two trees are always loaded with more than i can eat. So I don’t grow any. Here the wild red raspberries are amazing. The blackberries are not that good here.

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I found a pretty good article online… a bit dated Jan 2014, so it does not have all of the very latest varieties on it (Ponca, Caddo), but it does have some good info on other varieties, including Oregon.

It list several Varieties and gives… Cultivar, Plant, Fruit, Yield, Market… other details.
it breaks them down by these types…

Trailing (Table 1)
Blackberry/Raspberry hybrids (Table 2)
Erect (Table 3)
Primocane/Erect (Table 4)
Semi Erect (Table 5)

In each table, they are listed in order of ripening… earliest at top, latest at bottom.
So by type… you can easily see which ripens first…

In the Fruit column for most it mentions the Flavor details. On some it makes NO statement on Flavor…(assume nasty ???, or did they just forget that detail ?), on most it does mention Flavor and it ranges from… Fair, Good, Very Good, Excellent - on some it says Excellent but unique tart, or Excellent but distinct…

In the Market column, Fresh or Processed and generally if Processed it’s not a sweet berry. It might have Excellent but Tart Flavor but they are calling it Processed because no one wants to eat that fresh.

I can disagree with that a little, because I hardly ever eat one berry at a time. I like to eat a mix… and Logans (which are Excellent but Distinct flavor per them) mixed with strawberries and blueberries or blackberries and grapes… are just excellent.

A pint of Loganberries with a few tablespoons of maple syrup, simmered in a saucepan, (only way we process them)… is Excellent on french toast. That is an occasional treat for me (normally Keto).

In tables 3, 4, 5 - Semi Erect, Erect, Primocane only one from each type received a rating of Good Flavor… Prime Arc 45, Navaho, Triple Crown.

Note (Ponca, Caddo, Osage) not listed.
all the others from those tables got a Flavor rating of of Fair (or worse), or no mention.

Now on to the ones they gave better ratings…

Only varieties in the “Trailing” or “Blackberry/Raspberry Hybrids” got Very Good, or Excellent Flavor ratings.

In Table 1 (Trailing blackberries)… the first one (earliest ripening) may be what I was looking for…

Cultivar Obsidian, Plant Very vigorous, thorny, Fruit Large size, good firmness, black, fair shape, excellent flavor, very early ripening. Yield Very High, Market Primarily fresh but processes well.

The next two Cultivars sound promising too, Metolius, Silvan… but overall score not hardly as high as Obsidian.

The further down the list you go, the later they ripen… so I would not consider any of the others listed in that Table.

The somewhat famous Marion is 9th on that list, so evidently it ripens quite a bit later.

In Table 2 (blackberry/raspberry hybrids)…
Logan is listed first, but their opinion of it is quite low in most categories (Flavor - Excellent but distinctive) which I can agree with.

It looks like Newberry might be a good one to try from Table 2. it is the 3rd one listed, so not sure exactly when they would ripen (here in TN). Logans are very early here May 22 start… Perhaps Newberry would ripen early enough here to avoid my SWD (late July, August) timeframe.

In order of ripening on these they list Logan, Tayberry, Newberry…then Thornless Boysen, Boysen

Other than “thorns” Newberry sounds a lot better than Thornless Boysen, and Boysen is the latest to ripen, so probably no good for me.

Newberry is described as Plant Vigorous Thorny, Fruit Large size, blocky, glossy, reddish purple to dark purple, firmer, tougher skin than boysen, excellent flavor but not boysen flavor, Yield Very High, Market Fresh.

That sounds like a winner to me, if it will only fruit and finish before my SWD kicks in.

Drew have you tried Newberry ?
If so when does it ripen for you ?

Anyone growing that Obsidian ?

Thanks

TNHunter

I am looking for good Fresh eaters myself,

In Table 5 (Semi erect) only Triple Crown is mentioned as having Good Flavor, the rest are listed as Fair Flavor…

I grow 4 UArk varieties, PrimeArk Freedom, PA Traveler, Osage, and Ouachita, plus Triple Crown, all thornless.

Favorite taste wise is TC, for sure, then Osage, Freedom and Traveler. Ouachita hasn’t produced hardly any fruit, although Osage hasn’t done much better. All were planted in 2018.

The latter two haven’t been too hardy for me, the PrimeArk’s have been a bit better in that regard. PAF produces the most sucker plants by far. They’re all rated to zone 6, and I’m 6b, but they’ve been hit and miss for me. TC is rated to zone 5.

TC is the most hardy and that’s probably why it’s the most productive. I had a lot of canes tip root, so I’ll be digging some of those up and transplanting them to other locations.

We have wild, thorny BB’s on the farm, but they’re small and too sour for my liking.

I haven’t usually been a big blackberry fan, but these domesticated ones have changed my mind on them. Plus, it’s cheaper than buying another fruit tree, and you get fruit within a year, so that’s a plus.

I just ordered a couple Ponca, and one each of Caddo and Natchez. They have really been hyping Ponca up, so I took the bait on it. Hope their hardiness is better than the other UArk berries I have.

I’ve heard a lot of good things about Marion, but don’t have any yet. I don’t know if they’re hardy enough for my locale.

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subdood…

I was considering Triple Crown for a late season variety for my location… but unfortunately they ripen late July, August… right when my SWD problem is in gear.

Last year was the first time I noticed SWD here… and I did not know what they were, just knew I had not seen them before and they looked pretty much like a fruit fly… This was Late July, early August.

And best I can tell, and with info provided by others on this board, that is exactly when TC ripen.

I have a co-worker that has some TC and she really brags on them… I warned her about the SWD issue just last week.

The Flavor Nut in me is now thinking… for thornless erect, Ponca, Caddo
Then for Trailing, or BlackBerry/Raspberry hybrids…
Obsidian and possibly Newberry.

Would love some feedback on Obsidain, Newberry from someone that is actually growing, eating those.

Thanks

TNHunter

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Yes, TC is the last to produce, here it’s late July, I think. I haven’t had issues with SWD yet, or haven’t noticed it here. Maybe they’re not an issue here, or haven’t found me yet.

For your location, if you want the earliest UA producing berries, they are Arapaho, Natchez, Ponca, Caddo and Osage in roughly that order. They’re listed as ripening in Arkansas around the first or second week of June.

PA Freedom and Traveler, however do produce a very early floricane crop, PAF in late May, and PAT early June.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ctclhezeI0Y

This guy is showing Obsidian, from Canby, Oregon

Here is what OGW says about them…

This superior, new, trailing variety is very disease resistant and early ripening. Obsidian produces exceptionally heavy crops of large, delectable berries, which are great for eating fresh and for making delicious preserves.

They say - Ripening Time : July

But that is what they say about Logan, and they ripen for me May 22, thru June and into July.

I may have to give Obsidain a try.

TNHunter

subdood…

I considered the Primocane varieties… but from July thru Sept here… it is often quite hot (90-100+) is not unusual at all… and from my research on the Primocane varieties… fruit quality, and production suffers badly in those temps. I expect I would get a good first fruit off those, but may not get a fall crop at all.

I might try one or two, sometime, just to see how that goes here.

Thanks
TNHunter

The only place that has all of these is Pense, though their shipping costs are a bit high, unless you order a lot of plants. Shipping is free over orders over $125, otherwise it’s a $25 fee. They also have a minimum order of 3 plants for blackberries. I’ve ordered my berries from Nourse and Indiana Berry and have had good luck with them, but no experience with Pense. But @clarkinks has done a mass order with them, so he could maybe comment on their plants.

https://www.penseberryfarm.com/Blackberry-Plant-Varieties-s/1856.htm

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