Picking blackberries on the farm

They are planted in 150 foot rows and are trained onto trellises for easy picking.  The area between the rows is mowed.  Our farm has three varieties of thornless blackberries (Natchez, Ouachita and Osage) which ripen at different times.  All three varieties produce a large, high brix (sweet) blackberry.  We have ripe blackberries from mid June though August. 

 Many people remember picking berries in the wild and foraging for tasty treats.  Those memories also include thorny bushes, ticks, and chiggers.  Fortunately, the berry picking experience at our farm will yield lots of tasty treasures without thorny plants or biting pests.  The cultivars planted at Hummingbird Berry Farm were developed by the University of Arkansas berry program and are thornless.

Extending Your Berries'
Shelf Life

1) It is critical to refrigerate quickly and keep them cooled. Plan your trip home after picking berries or buying pre-picked berries. Side trips are not advised unless you bring a cooler with ice. 

2)  Store the blackberries in a large flat container so that the berries are not stacked on top of each other more than two layers deep.  Berries are fragile and will be crushed and break down unless they are stored properly.

3)  Wait to wash the blackberries until you are ready to enjoy them.

4)  Freezing: Blackberries should be arranged in a single layer not touching each other on a cookie sheet.  Once they are frozen put them into a freezer bag or vacuum seal.  Do not wash before you freeze, but wait until just before you use them to rinse.  

Picking The Perfect 

When you visit the farm for U-Pick we will instruct you how to pick the perfect blackberry.  Here are the basics to pick a sweet ripe berry:

1)  The berry should be completely black with no red.  Look at the berry closely and examine the color carefully before picking it.  If it is red, it is not ripe.  Once picked, unlike other fruit, blackberries do not continue to ripen.

2)  Examine the individual berries.  Look for fruit that is full, plump and is a dull/not shiny black.

3)  A perfectly ripe berry will come off the stem easily when it receives a slight tug or twist. Not to worry, there will be plenty of ripe berries to pick. A berry that does not come off easily today will be ready to pick in one to two days.  

Nutritional Value

Blackberries are  a high fiber "superfood" and contain only 62 calories per cup. Their dark color indicates they are high in antioxidants (or as my husband says to be onery--"anti-accidents".