Blackberries in the PNW Pt 1
Blackberries grow wild almost everywhere we look in the Pacific Northwest and many of us enjoy picking them while out enjoying our rural areas. But, blackberries are also a big commercial crop here with growers enjoying their bountiful harvest year after year ...
PEERBOLT ... "We certainly do. We've got a very large, well, everything's relative obviously. It's probably small on some scales, but we produce up to I think our high has been 60-million pounds a couple of years ago of blackberries, almost exclusively west side of Oregon, and it almost, probably 95% of it, goes for processed."
Northwest Berry Foundation Executive Director Tom Peerbold says blackberries, much like other berry crops in the Northwest, most do go to the processed, rather than fresh, market ...
PEERBOLT ... "There's a very large fresh blackberry industry that you see in the stores, like Driscoll's and some of the others, centered down in California. But, yeah, we've got a very large processed, machine harvested blackberry industry."
Peerbolt says Northwest blackberries are a favorite among people who, many of them, grew up picking berries on family excursions or while out hiking, camping or just enjoying the outdoors ...
PEERBOLT ... "It's a great crop. I mean, I really love working with it and it has an amazing amount of versatile qualities and different cultivars. So, I think a lot of people have very good memories about it and are unaware of how large the actual industry is for growing them."
Listen tomorrow for more on the northwest blackberry industry and where most of these thorny delights are grown.
BL: Welcome back to another "Fruit Bites" brought to you by Valent U.S.A. Kind enough to join us once again is Valent's Allison Walston. And this week Allison, let's have a conversation about food.
AW: Americans today are very disconnected from farms and the agricultural practices that sustain us.
BL: How so?
AW: The average American is over 3 generations removed from the farm. And currently, less than 2% of the population is involved with farming. Food has a vital role in our lives and almost 13% of household expenditures are on food.
BL: The internet floods the web with marketing tools aimed to confuse and scare. How can we promote dialogue to help consumers make more informed decisions about food?
AW: That's a great question. Determine a trustworthy resource. University, Extension, your neighborhood entomologist. Encourage people to grow their own food and see how hard it can be. Can you imagine trying to feed your town, state, country, & world? By growing food, you gain knowledge and food empathy.
BL: Well, thanks Allison. Join us again next time for Fruit Bites, brought to you by Valent. Until then, I'm Bob Larson.