The exact details of how blackberries arrived in Oregon during the mid 1800s is unclear, however, it is known that they were either brought by immigrants on the Oregon Trail or came from Hawaii.
Oregon quickly became well-known for its raspberries and by 1910 Gresham was considered the “Raspberry Capitol of the World”. Through breeding, many different kinds of caneberries were created. For example, the marionberry, loganberry and olallieberry were all created by the interbreeding of previously existing or wild berries.
The term caneberry refers to a family of delicate berries that grow on a hard, woody stem that resembles a cane. Many types of berries are considered caneberries, including raspberries, blackberries, boysenberries and many others. Caneberries may also be called brambles and belong to the rose family.
Like many other commodities, Oregon is one of the top ranking states in the United States for production of caneberries! Oregon ranks number one for blackberry and boysenberry production, number two for black raspberry production and number three for red raspberry production. In fact, 90% of all United States grown frozen blackberries are from Oregon. Most of the production in Oregon is located west of the Cascade Mountain Range in the Willamette Valley.
It is important to take site selection, variety, site preparation, pruning, harvesting, etc into consideration when planting caneberries. It is best to select a site that is exposed to full sunlight, contains organic matter and has well-drained soil. Certified disease-free plants should be purchased from a nursery. Caneberry plants are most commonly purchased as bare root nursery stock or as tissue-cultured plugs. In Oregon, planting should occur during the spring.
When growing caneberries, it is important to note that they need specialized care throughout the year. Caneberry plants have perennial roots and crowns, but their canes are biennial, meaning they grow one year and produce fruit the following year. A trellis system is used to train the canes. Pruning is done to ensure plants are healthy and dead canes are removed. Types of berries have different requirements for pruning. Caneberries also require water frequently throughout the fruiting season. Fertilizer and other nutrients are applied to caneberries at different times of the year.
Harvest takes place from July to September in Oregon. Caneberries may be hand or machine harvested, depending on the type of berry.
Caneberries are hand harvested when they are firm to the touch, but have full color and a sweet flavor. When harvesting caneberries, the delicate fruits should be carefully removed from the cane.
Some caneberries are harvested with a mechanical harvester. The harvester straddles the row and gently shakes the ripened berries off of the canes. The berries are then moved up a conveyor and sorted from twigs and debris. Mechanical harvest is very efficient and reduces labor costs.
Roughly 90% of all frozen blackberries sold in the United States are grown in Oregon. Oregon is a large producer of caneberries because of the climate. They thrive in the temperate, wet climate with warm days and cool nights that Oregon’s Willamette Valley provides. The berries are harvested when they are fully ripe in the field and then quickly brought to processing plant. Once the fruit arrives, it is cleaned to remove dirt and debris. Then the berries are hand sorted so that any defective berries are removed before entering a cooler that is around -34 degrees Fahrenheit. Depending on the type of fruit, the time in the cooler varies. It usually takes 20 minutes for the fruit to freeze. Once the fruit is frozen it is sorted again and then packaged for sale.
Blackberries are black in color when ripe and there are several wild and cultivated varieties. There are also some invasive species, such as the Himalayan Blackberry.
Raspberries are usually red in color when ripe, but there are several different types that can vary in color. Raspberries are different from blackberries, because when they are ripe, the core of the berry remains on the bush after picking.
Marionberries are a cross between the Chehalem blackberry and the olallieberry. They were created at Oregon State University and named after Marion County where the majority of field trials occurred. Marionberries are a deep red to black color when ripe.
Loganberries are crosses of the wild blackberry and the red raspberry. This berry is deep red in color and can be more tart than other caneberries.
Black raspberries are native to North America and are commercially grown in Oregon. They have a very dark pigment and are stronger in flavor than red and golden varieties of raspberries. They also contain the highest amount of antioxidants compared to any other berry.
5 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for hands and parchment
1 cup sugar, plus more for sprinkling
2 1/2 tablespoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup shortening
1/2 cup butter
2 cups milk
1 1/2 to 2 cups marionberries (or substitute blackberries)
2 cups powdered sugar
2 teaspoons lemon extract
1/4 cup milk