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Auditor Trevor Swanson asks:
Why are blackberries not sold in retail stores? We love the berries available, everyone is delicious blackberries, and we left the neighborhood with trees, and we miss them!
Fortunately, some people grow mulberry trees in their neighborhood. But if you’re new to the delicate, tart and sweet fruits of morus alba, you’re not alone.
Morus alba is easy to grow, but it is difficult to harvest, and the shelf life of the refrigerator is 2 to 4 days. Therefore, most grocery stores do not sell it.
Morus alba resembles the more popular elongated version of morus alba, mostly in the shape of conifers, and grows in several tree species.
There is Morus rubra, a red mulberry native to North America. White mulberry, morus alba; black mulberry, Morus nigra; Himalayan morus alba, Morus macroura; as well as some hybrids of these species.
Jan Doulin, a berry expert in Lakeland, Florida, said the fruit tasted like a cross of blueberries and blackberries, probably with a bit of raspberries.
Or maybe all of these fruits taste like blackberries. Blackberries are often undervalued fruits that are not recognized by the basic grocery counterparts.
Growing up in Lakeland, Doulin remembers growing up on a large family mulberry tree and tasting fruit. He started picking morus alba six years ago and now has 70 out of 50 varieties on an acre of land.
But that’s not impossible
The fruits usually ripen from spring to summer, depending on the type of morus alba.
Frog Hollow Farm, a 280-acre farm based in Brentwood, California, has found a way to harvest blackberries and sell them fresh to several grocery stores in the state.
“Morus alba trees love to grow, especially in this hot summer weather,” said owner Al Courschne. “They love being here, so all you have to do is give them enough water. And lots of space.
In fact, one of the biggest challenges for morus growers is proper spacing due to tree size, Courchesne said. Even the frog’s hollow trees are flocking in search of light. After cutting, it is approximately 18 feet high and 15 feet wide.
“The harvest ends at the end of June. We will prun these trees in mid-July or early August,” says Coursesne.
He said the farm has been growing blackberries for six years and is still refining the method.
“No one wrote a textbook about it, and we didn’t,” said Kourschne.
During the first year the farm cultivated blackberries, he noticed that the fruits fell from the trees as soon as they ripened.
“So here’s your answer: you don’t have to pick them up, just drop them down,” said Coursesne. “But if you want to drop them, you have to catch them.”
According to Courchesne, the farm designed a “very elaborate net system” that would be placed under the mulberry tree during the harvest season.
At the height of the season, a “blackberry team” of about 8 to 10 people picks fruits every day. The berries are picked one by one from the net and immediately placed in the orchard retail container.
Frog Hollow Farm sells almost half of its crops to Whole Foods in Northern California, according to Courschne.
“They send refrigerated trucks and receive them a couple of times a week,” says Coursesne.
Frog Hollow Farm brings the remaining blackberries to the farmers market or ships them to customers as part of a community-supported agricultural network. The fresh blackberries they sell are about $ 7 for 5 ounces.
Blackberries are not widely sold in US supermarkets, but are easier to buy in other countries.
“When I was in Thailand, fresh blackberries were very common in the local community market, but unfortunately the United States is not so organized,” Mark Travis said in an email. .. He is a morus alba expert based in Gainesville, Florida and the creator of the Growing Mulberry website.
Travis said in his experience that the berries that arrived at the Thai market were “very fresh.”
“They have a larger market for selling a variety of packaged goods, but smaller markets and production stalls are very plentiful,” he said.
Why can’t I get mulberry products?
Now we know why fresh blackberries are so rare on the market. But Travis raises an interesting point: why don’t we have more frozen blackberries? Or is it a dried berry or berry drink?
Frog Hollow Farm sells frozen blackberries at least on its website. (Three 10-ounce bags cost about $ 72, or $ 2.4 per ounce.)
Even if the blackberries are dried or frozen, the fruits are so fragile that they are difficult to harvest, said Courschne of Frog Hollow Farm.
Miguel Gomes, a professor of food marketing at Cornell University, also said that few consumers know about blackberries.
Fruits that are easier and cheaper to mass-produce, such as blueberries and strawberries, are readily available, he said.
It’s like a chicken or the egg scenario, Gomez said. Demand for blackberries is not high enough to justify producing enough fruit for farmers to sell over-the-counter, but not in sufficient quantities to be accepted. So probably not enough demand. – Commonly known.
The popularity of fruits and vegetables, such as pomegranate and kale, is not always organic. According to Gomez, smart marketers recognized their potential and spent a lot of time and money educating consumers about their interests and the different ways they consume them.
Gomez said a “business mindset” is needed to grow the blackberry market, but consumers are more widely available whether blackberries are fresh, dried, processed or frozen. If possible, I think I want blackberries.
Doulin, Lakeland, Florida, believes that people are beginning to appreciate blackberries.
“He has a bad reputation. For years, it was like,’Oh, don’t plant those weeds,'” said Doulin. “I think you’re asking about how delicious this fruit really is and how easy it is to grow.”
Be sure to eat fresh food.
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