We've been growing 2.8 acres of prickless marionberries on Rogue Farms in Independence, Ore.
Marionberries are a unique variety of blackberry cultivated by the USDA at nearby Oregon State University. Bred to be larger, sweeter and juicier than the typical blackberry, we grow a type without thorns called Prickless Marionberries that are easier to pick by hand.
It lakes a year after planting to get marionberries that are ripe and flavorful enough to use in our beers, but like everything else on our farm, it's a labor of love. We now have 2 acres dedicated to Prickless Marionberries, made possible by our Rogue Farms honeybees. They pollinate the flowers that grow into marionberries and bring the nectar back to their hives to produce honey.
By late June we'll handpick roughly 13,500 pounds of big, ripe marionberries. They are then sent to the brewery where Brewmaster John Maier uses them to brew Marionberry Sour. It takes time and energy, but the finished products are well worth it.