Sweet blackberry varieties gain popularity amongst consumers
With the consumer wanting more sweet blackberries on the market, the pressure on good varieties that produce superb blackberries with a low acidity level is rising, according to an article by Global Plant Genetics’ Marieke Gortemaker.
Sweet blackberries as a category didn’t really exist a few years ago, according to Gortemaker, but with the careful breeding of blackberries in recent years, the fruits being bought in supermarkets are usually bigger, juicier and sweeter.
Consumers’ appetite for blackberries has grown, with an estimated 25.5 million punnets sold last year in the UK alone, an eight per cent uplift on 2020, according to British Summer Fruits.
One of the most recent examples of better eating and sweet flavor blackberries is the variety Von, from North Carolina State University, which is a result of many years of breeding and a complex cross of a range of genetics.
Von’s fruits are medium sized (6.6g each on average) and have a high level of soluble solids that provide a sweet flavor, low acids that reduce the berry’s astringency and uniquely, very small seeds that provide a texture and mouth-feel that are extremely unusual in blackberries.
Moreover, this variety is ideal for growers as it combines thornless canes with an upright growth habit, which means that its plants are easy to manage in a range of growing situations. Von also has a medium chilling requirement, marketable yields and is considered as a late season cropper, making it ideal for season extension purposes.
Therefore, Von offers both growers and fruit marketers an excellent combination of fruit quality and exceptional productivity.
Aside from their sweetness, blackberries are known for being one of the most antioxidant-rich foods which can improve brain function and reduce blood pressure. They are low in calories and rich in fiber and currently, there is research being carried out on the positive effects that they have on gut health and common conditions such as IBS.