Blackberries, also called caneberries and brambles, are a fruit produced from a number of species of plants from the same family as raspberries and dewberries. There are over 375 species of plants in the group and many of these produce blackberries. The fruit can be eaten raw, but it is most commonly used as an ingredient in desserts, jams and jellies. Let’s take a look at how blackberries are grown commercially.
How are blackberries grown and harvested?
Most species of blackberries grow on bushes that form a dense growth called a thicket. These can be up to 3 meters (10 ft) tall and as the plants continue to grow and reproduce the thicket expands. They usually have woody stems and prickles, spines or bristles to protect the plant and the fruit. A blackberry bush does not produce flowers until the second year.
On a commercial farm the blackberries are planted in long rows to make harvesting easier. They are then trained to grow so they don’t form a twisted thicket and grow out of control. This is done by consistent pruning or by growing them with a trellis system. The fruit grows from the flowers, which start in late spring or early summer, and is usually picked by hand by a number of workers.
Did you know?
Despite its name the blackberry isn’t classified as a true berry, but as an aggregate fruit.
The largest producer of blackberries is the U.S. state of Oregon. In this state over 56 million pounds of the fruit are grown each year!
Some species of blackberries have been introduced into countries and have spread as an invasive species taking over from native plants. This has occurred in Australia, Chile, New Zealand and parts of North America.