Berry facts

Facts about our blackberries

We have four different varieties of Blackberries, three of which are thornless — all developed and patented by the University of Arkansas:

Arapaho Blackberry
Arapaho Blackberries
Type – Thornless, erect.
Date of Release – 1993; plant patent #8510.
Fruit Size – Medium, 5 grams/berry.
Flavor/Sweetness – Good, rated higher than most thorny varieties; soluble solids (percent sugar) averages 9.6 percent.
Yield – Moderate yields, usually lower than Apache and Navaho.
Maturity Date – Earliest ripening thornless, beginning approximately June 5 at Clarksville, Arkansas, and fruiting extends for about four weeks.
Disease Resistance – Shows resistance to double blossom/rosette; no orange rust susceptibility verified; no anthracnose observed.
Comments – Fruit storage and handling potential good, surpassed only by Navaho for this characteristic.

Kiowa Blackberry
Kiowa Blackberries
Type – Thorny, erect.
Date of Release – 1996; plant patent #9861.
Fruit Size – Largest of the Arkansas varieties; averaging 11 grams/berry, with some berries up to 13 grams.
Flavor/Sweetness – Good, soluble solids (percent sugar) averages 10 percent.
Yield – High
Maturity Date – Ripens beginning approximately June 12 at Clarksville, Arkansas, and fruiting extends for six weeks, the longest fruiting of the Arkansas varieties.
Comments – Storage and handling potential very good, among the best of the thorny varieties.

Navaho Blackberry
Navaho Blackberries
Type – Thornless, erect.
Date of Release – 1989; plant patent #6679.
Fruit Size – Medium, 5 grams/berry.
Flavor/Sweetness – Excellent, consistently rated the highest of the Arkansas varieties; soluble solids (percent sugar) averages 11.4 percent, the highest of the Arkansas varieties.
Yield – Moderate yields, though usually higher than Arapaho.
Maturity Date – Ripens beginning approximately June 15 at Clarksville, Arkansas; fruiting extends for about five to six weeks.
Comments – Fruit very firm; storage and handling potential exceptional; can be shipped under proper conditions.

Apache Blackberry
Apache Blackberries
Type – Thornless, erect.
Date of Release – 1998; plant patent #11,865.
Fruit Size – Largest of the Arkansas thornless; up to 10 grams/berry.
Flavor/Sweetness – Very good, rated between that of Arapaho and Navaho; soluble solids (percent sugar) averages 10.7 percent.
Yield – Highest yielding of the thornless options in research trials.
Maturity Date – Ripens beginning approximately June 20 at Clarksville, Arkansas, and fruiting extends for about five weeks.
Comments – Fruit storage and handling potential good, similar to Arapaho.

Nutritional information

Why should I eat blackberries?

Because blackberries abound in antioxidants. The press has been proclaiming the health benefits of fresh produce for many years. In recent years, much focus has been directed toward berries. The high levels of natural antioxidant compounds found in berries have been found to aid in the prevention of esophageal and colon cancer. Antioxidants are good for you.

What are antioxidants?

Antioxidants are compounds or groups of compounds that neutralize unstable molecules in humans. Antioxidants can be vitamins A, C and E, lycopene, and ellagic acid and anthocyanin pigments, which are responsible for the purpleish-black color of blackberries.

National independent research suggests that consumption of these fruits may slow the aging process in both the body and the brain and may provide protection against cancer and chronic disease. Cooking does not seem to destroy ellagic acid, so even blackberry jams and desserts retain ellagic acid health benefits. Black Currants have been found to have the highest levels, and Blueberries, Blackberries and Black Raspberries have especially high levels of the compounds also.

Other health benefits:

Blackberries are also an excellent source of dietary fiber and a good source of folic acid. Fiber has been linked to lowered cholesterol levels and reduced risk of colon cancer, and has been shown to help regulate postprandial glucose levels. Folic acid is a B vitamin needed for cell replication and growth. It helps form building blocks of DNA, the body’s genetic information, and building blocks of RNA, needed for protein synthesis in all cells. Therefore, rapidly growing tissues, such as those of a fetus, and rapidly regenerating cells, like red blood cells and immune cells, have a high need for folic acid.

Nutrition Facts
Serving Size: 1 cup (144g)
Amount per serving
Calories 62 Calories from fat 6
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 1 g 1%
Saturated Fat 0 g 0%
Cholesterol 0 mg 0%
Sodium 1 mg 0%
Total Carbohydrates 14 g 5%
Dietary Fiber 8 g 31%
Sugars 7 g
Protein 2 g
Vitamin A 6%
Vitamin C 50%
Calcium 4%
Iron 5%
Potassium 233 mg
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

Source: USDA Publication SR17

Picking the Blackberries

When you come to pick the berries, we will have lined gallon buckets for you to fill as you pick. That way you simply take the liner with you. This keeps the berries from being handled too much. We charge $10 per level bucket, not by the pound (partially filled buckets will be charged accordingly).

Two major characteristics determining maturity for harvest are fruit color and ease of separation. Blackberries usually develop a dull, black color with plump, juicy fruitlets as they ripen. The berries soften and produce the characteristic flavor. Full color often develops before the berries separate easily. Pick the berries by gently lifting the berry with the thumb and fingers. The receptacle, or center part of the fruit, remains in the fruit when blackberries are harvested, unlike raspberries which leave the receptacle on the bush.

To cool the berries as soon as possible after harvest, you might want to bring an ice chest with ice for the ride home. This will help to extend shelf life. Keep them refrigerated under high relative humidity and use within three to five days. Although blackberries have a short season and are highly perishable, they freeze quite well, allowing you to enjoy them practically year round. Freezing berries yourself is simple. Place berries (wash and dry only if necessary) in a single layer, slightly apart on a cookie sheet. Place the berries in the freezer until they are solidly frozen, and then transfer them to an airtight container or heavy plastic bag, seal tight, pressing out all air, label and date. They will keep for 1 year.

Please be aware that fruits are 80% or more water. When frozen, the water expands, and the cell wall breaks, thus changing the texture. Upon thawing, the texture will be mushy. Keep this in mind when determining how to use the frozen product. We recommend Ball’s Blue Book as a thorough and accurate guide for preserving fruits and vegetables.

Posted May 22nd, 2005, by Penny