There is no question that Oregon berries are healthy and delicious, making them a special summer treat. Oregon’s moderate climate, fertile soil, warm summer days and cool nights enable berries to stay on the cane for an extended period of time before harvest. This allows sugar to set and berries to develop their irresistibly sweet flavor, while still maintaining their firmness. Oregon is the number one producer of blackberries, raspberries, marionberries and boysenberries in the United States and produced nearly 46 million pounds of blackberries on 6,100 acres in 2014.
Oregon’s blackberries, raspberries, marionberries and boysenberries, also known as caneberries, grow on stout canes. The marionberry, a cross between Chehalem and Olallie blackberries is probably the most treasured berry in the state of Oregon. The berry was bred by Oregon State University in the early 1900’s as a partnership with the United State Department of Agriculture (USDA). It was coined the name marionberry, because test plots were located in Marion County, Oregon.
Caneberries may be harvested by hand or using a mechanical harvester. Mechanical harvesters straddle vertical rows of canes using beaters to shake the branches, ultimately causing berries to fall onto catcher plates. Next, berries are moved from the catcher plates up a conveyer to sorting belts, where they are sorted from sticks and other debris. Finally, crates are filled with berries and stacked at the back of the mechanical harvester. Full crates are then loaded onto a truck and transported to a processing facility, where the fresh berries are cleaned and cooled.
Caneberries are a very nutritious food, containing components known as nutraceuticals. They are also an excellent source of carbohydrates and dietary fiber, with less than one percent of calories coming from fat. They contain many vitamins and minerals, including vitamins A and C, calcium and iron. Furthermore, Caneberries are linked to preventing diseases such as cancer and heart disease. Don’t forget, caneberries can make their way into some of your favorite dishes, including jams, cobblers, ice cream and even spruce up a salad. With their deliciously sweet taste, why not grab a handful fresh right off the cane?
- Fun Facts:
- Blackberries and raspberries grow on “canes”
- Caneberry harvest typically runs June through August
- Blackberries and raspberries are considered a “bramble” crop
- The ideal temperature for blackberry production is between 80 and 85 degrees
- In the United States, Oregon ranks number one in blackberry, raspberry, marionberry and boysenberry production
Learn more about local caneberry farms here: Columbia Farms