August 20, 2015
This is the first summer in over a decade that we haven’t harvested marionberries. Our last good crop was 2009. Then after several cool, foggy summers, the Botrytis fungus took hold.
Last fall we took out all the canes. Master Gardener hotline advice was start over in a new plot (thinking half-acre in East County). But small, urban gardens like ours don’t have that option. Our trellis is cemented in place and this is the only place we can grow them on our lot. Thinking about our options.
I recall the marionberries my parents grew in San Clemente for so many years. Mom made jam and cobblers and of course she served them for dessert, sprinkled with a little sugar to draw out the juices.Their canes and ours came from Oregon where marionberries are a major berry crop.
BTW, the best way to eat a marionberry is picked on a warm, sunny day when the berry is slightly soft, ever so ripe and aromatic.
But then there’s Stehly Farms organic blackberries.
Not the complexity of flavor, sweetness and size of my marionberries but happy to have them for my arugula salad dressed with Blackberry Ginger Balsamic Vinegar and olive oil.
I see on the Stehly Farms website that they have a U-Pick Day in early June. Maybe next year if I don’t have marionberries.
I had a blackberry theme going at lunch. A favorite thirst-quenching summer drink I turn to is 3 parts sparkling water to 1 part 100% juice. Flavorful refreshment and low calorie.