It’s back in the dirt here at Rogue Farms. We just finished planting this year’s crop of marionberries.
It’s our biggest berry patch yet; two acres, 1602 starters, all planted by hand. It’s back-breaking work.
These are Rogue Farms Prickless Marionberries. If you’re wondering how they got that name, keep on reading.
The odd thing about marionberries is that they won’t grow fruit until they’ve experienced a hard frost. Around here, we don’t get that kind of weather until late September, and more likely not until October.
So while we’re planting now, we’ll have nothing to pick until next year. That’s 14 months of waiting. As farmers we’ve learned to plan ahead and be patient.
The Holy Grail of Marionberries
The one thing that drives marionberry farmers nuts are the prickly thorns. They make it so much harder to harvest and every so often a consumer will bite down on one and get a nasty sting in the mouth. Not exactly good for the business.
Breeders have been trying to develop thorn-free marionberries for years. They got rid of the thorns, but the berries were small and flavorless.
A few years ago, one of our neighbors across the river from us in Marion County stumbled across the Holy Grail. Growing in a field he discovered a thornless marionberry that produced excellent fruit. Mother Nature had outsmarted all of the best berry breeders.
Rogue Farms is proud to be among a small handful of farmers growing his prickless marionberries.
From Berries, To Bees, To Braggot
None of this would be possible without the 7,140,289 Rogue Farms honeybees. They’ll pollinate the flowers that grow into marionberries, and bring the nectar back to their hives to produce honey.
And only when they’re done with both of those jobs, will Brewmaster John Maier be able to use our marionberries and our honey to craft future batches of Rogue Farms Marionberry Braggot. It’s a long wait from planting day to brewing day, but it will be worth it.
Come out to Rogue Farms this spring and see how we grow an entire proprietary palate of flavors for John to create world class beers, spirits, ciders and sodas.