By: Joshua Danker-Dake | Category: Retail | Issue: July 2008
Bill Jacobs, owner of Owasso Tree and Berry Farm, invites you to relish in their delicious homegrown blackberries.
Some people say that if you’ve never eaten a vine-ripened blackberry, you haven’t lived. Blackberry season is in full swing, and most would agree that this luscious fruit is best when it is grown locally.
High-quality blackberries are a hot commodity that can be difficult to come by. “It’s hard to find good, ripe blackberries at the grocery store,” said Bill Jacobs, owner of Owasso Tree and Berry Farm. Blackberries perish quickly and do not ripen after they’ve been picked. Also, ripe blackberries don’t travel well, causing their price to go up.
“The only place you can find top-notch vine-ripened blackberries is a locally-grown produce stand or a ‘you-pick’ farm. In the store you’ll see blackberries shipped from Mexico, but local berries taste much better than imported berries,” said Jacobs.
In addition to their deliciousness, blackberries are good for your health. They’re loaded with antioxidants and are a good source of vitamin C, fiber, folate, potassium, calcium and iron.
The fruit is versatile as well. Blackberries are wonderful in jams, jellies, cobblers, pies and bread pudding. They’re perfect for topping cereal or ice cream. Another popular way to use the berries is for homemade blackberry wine. Blackberries freeze well, so you can even enjoy them in the middle of winter.
One of the most delightful aspects of visiting Owasso Tree and Berry Farm is the option of picking your own blackberries. This is a great activity for families, church groups and children. The farm staff furnishes buckets, picking gloves and absorbent-fiber cartons to take your berries home in. They also provide recipe sheets to help you get the most out of your blackberries.
The Owasso Tree and Berry Farm has been in business for 27 years. Jacobs began by selling Christmas trees, adding a small tract of blackberries 15 years ago. Now the farm has five acres of five blackberry varieties.
Each variety has its own distinct size, taste and sweetness. Choctaw, Quachita, Wyeberry, Chicksaw and Kiowa blackberries are offered at the farm. Kiowa is the most popular, with its berries growing to nearly the size of golf balls. These varieties are patented by the University of Arkansas, and the farm is a licensed propagator. Their licensing fees fund research at the university.
As a licensed propagator, Owasso Tree and Berry Farm is able to sell blackberry plants that people can plant in their own gardens. Tolerant of different soil conditions, blackberries are easy to grow – simply plant them once and they grow fruit every year.
To ensure plenty of ripe fruit is available each time you visit, Owasso Tree and Berry Farm’s picking days – Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday – are nonconsecutive. The farm is open primarily in the mornings when it’s cooler; in the heat, the berries become soft and difficult to pick. According to Jacobs, blackberry picking is quite popular, so it’s best to arrive early. “We sometimes get over a hundred people here in a day,” he said.
Blackberry season runs through June and July. You can go blackberry picking at Owasso Tree and Berry Farm Tuesdays and Thursdays from 7 a.m. to noon and Saturdays from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m., or until the berries run out. No appointment is necessary.
Owasso Tree and Berry Farm also sells landscape trees. For more information on their berries or trees, go online to www.owassotreefarm.com.
For more information, contact