Blackberries are extremely versatile in not only the amount of sunlight they receive but also the soil in which they grow, the temperature around them, and even the amount of water required to grow them. They can grow in sandy, loamy, and clay soils as long as well drained, and even in soil that would be considered nutritionally poor for most crops. In addition, they can grow in large amounts of shade to no shade at all, growing in deep and light woodland areas and areas void of shade altogether, and with a moist soil can even tolerate drought.

Though blackberries are far from immune to diseases and pests, there are no known pests or diseases unique to the berry.

“You can get some Anthracnose in a blackberry population in a wet year, which isn’t much of an issue with how dry it’s been recently. And in certain years stink bugs can be a problem," Stein adds. But in general, it appears the obstacles to overcome growing blackberries in almost any number are all but non-existent in comparison to the gains and pains of many other types of specialty crop production.

In many ways the plant itself is just as versatile as the conditions in which it grows. The fruit can be transformed into any number of things like pie, ice cream, juice, jelly, jam, even wine, and can be put into long term storage by canning; turning them into jams, jellies and preserves; freezing them; and when all else fails, just outright eating the delicate and delicious little fruit right off the vine.

In modern times, the blackberry has been heralded as a health food, but in ancient times the Greeks used blackberries as a remedy for gout, and the Romans made a tea from the leaves to treat various illnesses.

While the blackberry may be considered a healthy food of choice, there is little argument that the primary reason for the fruit's popularity among consumers is the sweet and succulent taste. As a specialty crop of choice, the berry offers reasonable drought resistance, produces prolifically and requires less management than many other crop choices.

 

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