Tuesday, September 2, 2008

The Queen of Blackberries

Summer's end brings memories of picking blackberries along roadsides and ditches...and being scratched mercilessly as we tried to fill our buckets.

In my garden however, the picking is so much easier! Our one plant of Marionberries (a large, glossy black berry which grows on thornless canes) has provided me with lots of berries this year.

There was a time many years ago that we researched this most popular tame blackberry...and had visions of planting twenty acres in our community as an experiment of sorts. We were growing raspberries commercially at that time and thought blackberries might be an excellent crop to introduce to our area. The local and federal departments of agriculture encouraged us to go ahead...however, we felt it was too much of a financial risk and in the end the plan to introduce Marionberries to our area was abandoned. To my knowledge there are still no commercial fields of Marionberries in British Columbia...although they are being grown at U-pick farms. After all these years, I'm quite happy to have Marionberries growing on our farm...albeit on a rather small scale!

The Marionberry is known as the queen of blackberries. It has a rich, almost floral flavour that is perfect for pies, cakes, jams and ice-creams. It was first introduced in Oregon in 1956, and most of North America's Marionberries are grown south of Portland, Oregon. Since Marionberries are higher in antioxidents than blueberries, their popularity has soared over the past few years.

I've made all kinds of things with blackberries these past few weeks. Anneliese's streusel cake with blackberries has been a big hit....it's quick and simple and wonderfully moist.

And there's nothing quite like blackberry pie! Use the pastry of your choice for a double crust pie...fill with 4 cups blackberries, 3/4 cup sugar, 4 Tablespoons tapioca and a pinch of cinnamon. Bake at 400 F for 15 minutes...decrease to 350 F and bake for an additional 45 minutes.

If you have a chance to try the queen of blackberries...you won't be sorry.

And we have sunshine today...it's been absent for some time, so it is a welcome sight!


  1. Blackberry pie, now that looks so good. I'm wondering if we could grow blackberries here. I would choose your variety.
    Have a great day, Judy.
    Now we have rainy weather..

  2. They do look beauitiful blackberries Judy and not too difficult picking. There was an article in my newspaper this morning saying that people just are not picking blackberries like they used to. It is something I enjoy doing but these days I will not go out into the countryside alone and hubby really does not like it. Certainly the garden picking is much easier than out in the wild.

  3. Oh I never knew that tame blackberries were called marionberries. .. learned something new.
    I love blackberry pie, I'll have to go to our back field and get some scratchin. . .and make a pie.

  4. Ooh, I would love a slice with a cup of coffee. I wonder if those would grow here.

  5. I love those berries and I have a place to plant some shoots. Please let me know if I can have a shoot or two.
    The pie looks so delicious.

  6. Blackberry pie, what a treat. Your sunflower picture on your blog header is beautiful. Enjoy this new season. Kathy

  7. i can't say that i have ever had blackberry pie. looks wonderful.
    i don't know that they grow here. at least i haven't heard of any one haveing them. enjoy your day. like bettyr mentioned already it is cool and rainy here in the prairies.

  8. Those are beautiful blackberries. When my children were little (33 years ago) my mother-in-law had me to give them blackberry juice for collic as well as stomach ailments. I was desperate and would try anything.It worked!

  9. Oh Judy, I wish I could just reach right through the screen here with my fork and tackle that slice of pie and ice-cream...wow...does that ever look good!

    Great post, thanks for your visit and your kind words today....

  10. Marionberries are the best and that pie looks absolutely delicious! I live in Marion County in Oregon and the marionberry was named after Marion County. If I had to move away from here I think I'd miss the berries that grow here the most!

  11. Mmmmmm....blackberries are so good! I bought four different berry canes a few years ago to see if they would grow in big pots (there's no soil in my urban yard) and the only ones thta "took" were raspberries. I was a little disappointed as I was hoping the blackberries would grow. I'll look for this type of canes in the garden nursery next year and try growing it again.

  12. oh my those berries look amazing! No black berries for me, sadly. I don't even think you can get them in Australia! The only cheap berries out here are strawberries, which I gleefully consume as much as possible before they go out of season.


'The ornament of a house is the friends who frequent it.'
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson