Blackberries in the Buckeye State

Blackberries are commonly grown throughout the Pacific Northwest and the Southern U.S., but researchers at The Ohio State University Extension are currently testing several different varieties of the berry to help boost production throughout the Buckeye State. Their goal is to provide local growers an opportunity to profit from the fruit’s increasing popularity, which has grown because of its health benefits and the growing interest in locally grown foods.

“It’s a missed opportunity for growers to make money,” said Gary Gao, an OSU Extension specialist and associate professor of small fruit crops in a recent Extension article. “Demand is much stronger than the supply. Growers just can’t get enough of them.”

The biggest obstacle facing the researchers is the blackberry’s lack of winter hardiness. While many blackberry plants weather mild winters just fine, a harshly cold or snowy season can seriously damage the crop.

The OSU researchers are testing four blackberry varieties, as well as production methods, to discover the best berry for Ohio. Currently, Ohio’s blackberry acreage is about only 400 acres.

“We want to help growers reduce their risk in order to plant more blackberry varieties that will produce a more reliable yield,” said Gao.

If the researchers are successful, it could mean a berry boon for farmers. According to Gao, a grower who produces 2,000 pounds of blackberries per acre can earn $4,600 per acre of gross revenue.

What do you think about expanding the blackberry crop in Ohio? Does it sound like a sweet idea to you?

Photo obtained from:


No comments: