Sunday, June 23, 2013

Black and Red Raspberry Taste Test

On a recent warm summer evening, Team Rubus held an informal taste-test of 8 red raspberries and 7 black raspberries harvested from the Sandhills Research Station in Jackson Springs, NC. The panelists were a group of plant breeders, their friends and family from North Carolina State University. This group of  breeders were accustomed to evaluating crops, so it was informative to learn the various opinions on the genotypes, and to get feedback on our selection material and seedlings in comparison to commercial standards.  In general, we found that most people remarked on the fact that “Red [raspberries] are not as seedy as black ones,” which can be attributed to the larger drupelet size and higher flesh:seed ratio in red raspberries. 

Based on our panel, ‘Nantahala’, ‘Tulameen’, and the selection NC 344 were the red raspberry favorites, while seedlings 4-51, 4-82, and 5-19 were the favorites of the black raspberry crosses.   Less popular was the red raspberry selection NC 548 and the black raspberry seedling 4-138 and commercial standard ‘Mac Black’.  (See the attached table for complete panel results and comments on each genotype sampled.)  As more of our trials develop across the state, we look forward to conducting more taste panels in order to see if environment has any effect on flavor of black and red raspberries grown in North Carolina.

Small Fruit Field Day At UMRS

Small Fruit Field Day At UMRS

Wednesday, Jun 26, 2013 1:00pm – 5:00pm
Where:Upper Mountain Research Station, Laurel Springs NC
High Country Local First and North Carolina Cooperative Extension are sponsoring a Small Fruit Production Field Day on June 26, 2013 from 1pm until 5pm at the Upper Mountain Research Station located at 8004 N Carolina 88 in Laurel Springs, NC.
Topics presented will include variety selction, production methods, harvesting and disease and insect management.
Featured speakers include:
Dr. Jeremy Pattison, North Carolina State University Assistant Professor, Horticultural Science
Dr. Gina Fernandez, North Carolina State University Specialist, Small Fruits
Dr. Bill Cline, North Carolina State University Specialist, Blueberries, Muscadine and Grapes
Dr. Hannah Burrack, North Carolina State University Extension Entomology Specialist and Assistant Professor
Please contact the Ashe County Center of North Carolina Cooperative Extension at 336-846-5850 by June 24th to register to attend.
This field day is made possible in part by a Seeds of Change grant.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Natchez overcropping 2013

Over the past week or so,  I have gotten a few calls about Natchez plants with lots of fruit and not so many leaves. Last year I posted some information on the Team Rubus blog, the information may be helpful for those encountering this situation this year. Click on this link:

NARBA publishes berry prices

The North American Raspberry and Blackberry Association recently conducted a survey to determine prices growers were getting for their fruit. Below is a summary of the vast amount of data that was collected. The prices ranged quite a bit and the data is presented by state, type of operation/customer base. For the full article in the Bramble newsletter, you need to become a member of NARBA.

Average prices for each berry type per unit

Already picked
per pint
per quart
per pound
per gallon
per half-pint
per pint
per quart
per pound
per gallon
Red Raspberries
Black Raspberries

Monday, June 10, 2013

From the field: black raspberry harvest

Black raspberry harvest 8 June 2013, Jackson Springs NC.
So, after a long wet couple of days, we had a large harvest of black raspberries in Christine's black raspberry trial (see earlier post Each of these little jewels weighs about 1 gram, and each of these are gallon sized bags. So if there are 3 kg in a gallon, that would mean they (Christine, and her crew of 2) picked 14 bags X 3000 g = 42,000 berries in one day? (UPDATED DATA ABOVE, 1 gallon bag weighed less than we thought)

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Researching Blackberry Compounds

Blackberry fruits are green at first, then turn to red and black as anthocyanins accumulate.

Hi, I’m Moo Jung Kim and I’m a PhD student at North Carolina State University. I am studying the storage attributes and bioactive content of organically grown blackberries. This study is part of NIFA-USDA-OREI grant being conducted by Oregon State University and North Carolina State University (

North Carolina is an important blackberry producer of fresh market blackberries. As fresh  blackberries are highly perishable, determining storage conditions that can maintain postharvest quality is very important. In 2011 and 2012, I stored 3 blackberry cultivars, ‘Navaho’, ‘Ouachita’ and ‘Natchez’ that were grown organically at a North Carolina commercial farm. The berries were brought back to the lab and stored at 1) 34°F for 15 days or 2) 34°F for 13 days plus at 68°F for the next 2 days. Our results showed that storage conditions greatly influenced postharvest quality (the best temperature regime was constant 34°F). We did not find large differences in how well each of the cultivars fared in storage. One of the treatments was done to simulate sitting out on the counter at home. We found that exposure to room temperatures (68°F) during storage significantly increased leakage, decay and fruit softening.

Blackberry is a fruit of interest because blackberries are known to have compounds that are good for you. In fact, blackberries are good source of vitamins A, C, and E, folic acid, iron, potassium, and fiber. Moreover, blackberries are rich in anthocyanins. Anthocyanins are plant pigment that make blackberries black and strawberries red, and these pigments have been studied for their health benefits against various symptoms and diseases such as oxidation, inflammation, and cancers. I have analyzed anthocyanin content in organically grown blackberries and investigated how  the compound changed during storage.  This summer, I will be testing anti-inflammatory activity of blackberries in cell cultures. I am excited to learn more about bioactive compounds and health benefits of blackberries this summer!
These tubes contain blackberry extracts that will be used to analyze anthocyanin content.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Caneberry Twilight Tour

Henderson Coop. Extension is hosting a Caneberry Twilight Tour this Thursday June 6, starting at 6 pm at the  Don Justus Farm, 187 Garren Rd, Fruitland NC They will have a catered supper after the tour and presentations by Drs. Hannah Burrack and Gina Fernandez. For more information contact:

Marvin Owings
County Extension Director
NCSU NC Cooperative Extension
Henderson County
office: (828)697-4891
cell: (828)329-2730