Marionberry Season 2011

September 20, 2011

I have some marionberry vines in my backyard, and they are ripening up. This season is a little late, but the quality is much better than last year. Last year, the fruit would be almost ripe and then it would start molding or fermenting on the vine without actually turning ripe. This year, I’m getting good fruit.

Marionberries are actually a hybrid between some blackberries and raspberries (see family tree) developed down at Oregon State University in 1956. The result is something that tastes like a blackberry but without thorns, so they are very easy to pick. I also find they are easy to care for, as you can kind of cut them back every fall, and they will return and bear fruit the next year without taking over. I had some mystery cane fruit with nasty thorns that hated being cut back, so they wouldn’t produce fruit. As a result, I took them out and put in their place instead raspberries.

If you ever take US Hwy 30 between Portland, OR and Astoria, OR, there is this little restaurant in a blip of Westport called The Berry Patch. The food is okay, though I went there once with a vegetarian and all there was to eat for him was salad and grilled cheese sandwich. What The Berry Patch is known for, though, is its marionberry cream pies. Wonderful! They also have an exhibit dedicated to the development of the marionberry. It is a great place to stop!

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