Blackberries ripening on the vine. Click image for
story to find out more.
New Blackberry Cultivars
October 2, 2003
Growers have started putting in their
orders for newly released cultivars of flavorful blackberries that have been
bred by the Agricultural Research
Geneticist Chad E. Finn led the cultivar development research at the ARS
Crops Research Laboratory in Corvallis, Ore. Finn recently released five
blackberry cultivars--two for the fresh market and three for processing.
The fresh market cultivars ripen very early, are firm and have excellent
flavor. The processing cultivars are thornless, an essential characteristic for
berries that will be machine-harvested and processed. In addition, the fruit
quality of these cultivars is excellent when the fruit are processed, typically
The crosses that were made to develop these new blackberries were done in
the late 1980s and early 1990s, but the genetic foundation for this program is
based on more than 80 years of breeding by the U.S. Department of Agriculture in Oregon. After
the first breeding cross is made, it takes many years of selecting the best
plants and testing them to find out which have the desired traits and, most
importantly, taste delicious.
Each berry crop--whether strawberry, blackberry, raspberry or blueberry--and
the intended market (fresh or processed) has its own group of critical
characteristics. A range of ripening seasons and good shipping characteristics
are critical for the fresh market. Intense color and flavor, high acidity, high
sugar levels and ability to withstand machine harvest are critical for berries
for the processing market.
Read more about this research in the
October issue of
Agricultural Research magazine.
ARS is USDA's chief scientific research agency.