By: Lorrie Ward Jackson | Category: In Our Communities | Issue: July 2009
Owasso Tree and Berry Farm owners Bill and Paula Jacobs say, “If you have not eaten a vine-ripened blackberry, you have not lived!”
Fireworks. Watermelon. Stars and stripes, red, white and blue – all signs of summer. And what would an Oklahoma summer be without fat, juicy blackberries fresh off the vine?
Fortunately, locals do not have to answer that question, because they can visit Owasso Tree and Berry Farm. There they can find five delicious varieties of blackberry, from the early-bird Choctaw, to the fat, tasty Kiowa and Chickisaw, to the thornless Quachita. Great for jams, jellies, pies, cobblers, or to top off your ice cream or cereal, fresh blackberries are a great addition to any menu in any kitchen.
Blackberry season usually starts in June, but cooler temperatures delayed the season, so there are plenty of weeks left this summer to gather berries. Since blackberries do not ripen any further once they are off the vine, and since they are too perishable to transport, the only places you will find them are at local produce stands or a you-pick farm like the Owasso Tree and Berry Farm. But these tasty berries are worth the effort, because, as farm owners Paula and Bill Jacobs say, “If you have not eaten a vine-ripened blackberry, you have not lived!”
But a trip to the Owasso Tree and Berry Farm can be for more than just your tastebuds. The Jacobs have set up their farm to provide a family bonding experience, whether you visit when the berries are ripe in the heat of summer or when the trees are ready for cutting at Christmas. “You can make this a family event,” says Paula. “We have picnic tables available – bring snacks or lunch and make a day of it.” The Jacobs work hard to make sure you get the most from your blackberry picking experience. Fields are closely mowed and canes pruned to keep snakes, chiggers, ticks and other pests at bay. They furnish the pails for picking and juice-absorbent containers to transport the blackberries back to your kitchen. They do recommend you bring a glove for your non-picking hand, which will be busy parting and moving prickly canes as you look for berries.
As Bill Jacobs observes, “Not many people get to enjoy nature anymore,” and in a noisy world such as ours, where blaring sirens, loud engines and squealing tires are a way of life, a place like Owasso Tree and Berry Farm can seem like a serene oasis. “Last year, a lady came out and said, ‘You know, it’s been years since I heard a bobwhite whistle,’” Bill recalls. “She even called later to comment on how much she enjoyed listening to the birds sing.”
If you are ready to experience the beauty of nature and to walk away with tasty berries, be sure to visit Owasso Tree and Berry Farm. Hours for berry picking are (weather permitting) Tuesday and Thursday 7 a.m. to noon and Saturday 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. Prices for you-pick berries are $3 a pound and pre-picked, $4 a pound. But as Bill Jacobs says, “There is no charge to listen to the birds sing.”