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Berries à la mode

What’s the difference between a Tayberry, Loganberry, & Olallieberry?

If you’ve always wondered but never sampled one, read on, this post is for your dish of ice cream. This is the best homemade jam and shortcake of your summer. These berries aren’t widely available at the grocery store, but they’re worth growing in your garden.

Boysenberry - thornless

In the 1920s, Walter Knott, of Knott’s Berry Farms, heard rumors of delicious large purplish berries and tracked them down to a few brambles choked in weeds on Rudolph Boysen’s bygone berry farm. He rescued a few cuttings to grow on his own farm. The berries became so popular at his fruit stand, he named them ‘Boysenberries’ and the rest is history. Boysenberries are a cross between the blackberry, dewberry, raspberry and loganberry. Large and plump, ripe boysenberries have a reddish purple colour. Delicate berries with thin skins are soft in texture and super juicy with a lovely balanced flavour of tart and sweet. Best eaten fresh picked, boysenberries are also great in jams and pies. They freeze well and are a great addition to the morning smoothie.

Boysenberries need a supportive trellis to keep the abundant fruit off the ground. They can also be successfully grown in large containers if they are kept well-watered, fertilized, and pruned. Harvest them in mid to late summer. Hardy to Zone 5.

Thornless Boysenberry - Berries a la mode

Loganberry

In the late 1800’s Horticulturalist and Judge J.H. Logan planted a few blackberry plants side by side in his garden intending to produce a superior blackberry cultivar. His plantings just happened to be alongside raspberries, all of which flowered and fruited at the same time. The birds and the bees helped the plants cross pollinate and Logan gathered and planted the seed which has become what we know as the Loganberry. It was a happy and fruitful accident.

Ripe loganberries are deep red in colour and cone shaped much like a raspberry. Large sized, they have the texture of a blackberry, retaining their core when picked. Their flavor is a combination of blackberry and raspberry: pleasant, mild, sweet and slightly tart. If you live in Southern Ontario, you might sample loganberry milkshakes and desserts in July and August. Their fruiting season bridges the gap between summer and autumn raspberries. Enjoy loganberry syrup over ice cream or grilled chicken. The berries are also outstanding in jams, pastries, pies, and muffins.

Loganberry canes have a rambling habit which benefits from a supportive structure. The plants are self-pollinating, but it takes 2-3 years for canes to bear fruit. Hardy to Zone 5.

Loganberry - Berries a la mode

Olallieberry (oh-LAH-lee-berry)

You may have never heard of Olallieberry until now, but the cultivar originates from a cross between ‘The Black Logan’ and the ‘Youngberry.’ Developed at Oregon State University from 1935, Olallieberries were released to market in 1950.

Magnificent, large and shiny, firm blackberries have a sweet wild flavour, but one that is less tart than others. Each mouthwatering jewel is about an inch long. If you have a favorite blackberry recipe, olallieberries are the perfect substitute. There really is no wrong way to enjoy these summer berries – fresh as a topping on pancakes or frozen in homemade gelato. Olallieberries are ideal for syrups, sauces, jams, and pie filling.

Florissa Fun Fact: ‘Olallie’ is a word from the Native American Chinook language meaning ‘berry.’

Olallieberries thrive in the Pacific Northwest, where temperatures are mild and there is a lot of rain. Available at local fruit stands from late May through early July, about six weeks, Olallieberries have garnered a following. Vigorous trailing canes benefit from a supportive structure, taking two years to bear fruit. Olallieberries are self-pollinating. Hardy to Zone 6.

Olallie Blackberry - Berries a la mode

Tayberry - thornless

Named after the River Tay in Scotland, the Tayberry is a recent cross between the blackberry and raspberry. Developed by the Scottish Crop Research Institute, the cultivar is an improvement on the Loganberry. What’s the difference between a Tayberry and Loganberry? Tayberry plants yield larger, sweeter, and more aromatic fruit.

Huge reddish-purple berries up to 4 cm (1.5”) in length are cone shaped, retaining their core when picked. Their season is short, as the plants yield one large harvest in July, instead of continually over several weeks or months. Easy to pick thornless canes with a rambling habit grow up to 2 m (7’) in length. They’ll also benefit from a supportive structure as the abundant fruits can become heavy.

Tayberries have a naturally high level of pectin and are ideal for jams, preserves and pie filling as well as fresh eating. If you’re substituting tayberries into a blackberry recipe, hold back a little on the sugar. These berries are sweet. Hardy to Zone 4.

Thornless Tayberry - Berries a la mode
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