Evaluation of Blackberry Varieties in Virginia
Blackberries (Rubus spp.) are of interest among strawberry and vegetable growers in Virginia looking to diversify their crops. Including blackberries in farm plans could allow these growers to keep their farms and pick-your-own activities open to customers for a longer duration, increasing agritourism and sales; however, Virginia growers lack information on blackberry varieties that perform well in the state. To address this need, on-farm observational variety evaluations were conducted at four grower sites in Virginia (Charlotte Court House, Mechanicsville, Virginia Beach, and Williamsburg) during the 2014 growing season to evaluate yield, fruit size, and degrees Brix (sugar content) of established blackberry varieties.
Higher yields were observed for thornless variety ‘Chester’; however, its fruit size was smaller and had a lower degrees Brix content. Larger-sized fruits were identified for the thorny varieties ‘Kiowa’ and ‘Chickasaw’. The study findings provide valuable insight, assisting growers with variety selection.