I’m in favor of using the abundance that nature provides which includes wild blackberries. They are abundant in this region. When I was about 9 years old, I found a patch of wild blackberries that were 1.5 inches long and 3/4 inch diameter. They were amazingly fast and easy to pick. I could pull a gallon in about 10 to 15 minutes. The flavor was very tart tangy rich blackberry. My mother made blackberry juice which she canned in a pressure cooker to use winter or summer for a refreshing drink. She also made jam and jelly which we ate with biscuits for breakfast. A little known fact is that a person who is sick and vomiting can usually keep blackberry juice down. It is one of the very few drinks I encouraged my kids with when they were sick.
But there are no wild blackberries ripe yet. Except!
About 3 years ago, I spotted a very early blooming clump of blackberries near Birmingham Alabama. They bloomed a month before any other blackberries in the area. They also ripened 3 to 4 weeks earlier than any of the other wild blackberries. I went back in the winter and dug up one of the clumps and transplanted them at my house. This year, they bloomed abundantly and now have ripe fruit. They are rich tart tangy and a bit sweeter than most wild blackberries. Why is this significant? My Caddo and Ponca blackberries are at least 3 to 4 weeks away from ripening. The wild blackberries in this area are about the same. I’m eating blackberries from these plants now. Perhaps more important, I have them interplanted with Caddo with which they have probably crosspollinated. The bloom periods overlapped by about 1 week. I’m going to save some of the Caddo berries and try to raise a few plants. Who knows, maybe I’ll find a thornfree blackberry that ripens 3 to 4 weeks before anything else available.