Food of the Moment: Blackberries

Food of the Moment: Blackberries

Seal the Seasons is a company that works with farmers who grow many different types of produce: from peaches to cauliflower, cherries to broccoli, and from brussels sprouts to strawberries. But for all of the different farmers that we work with, and the myriad products that we sell, one product in our wheelhouse experiences a disproportionate amount of attention from our farmers: blackberries. Whether we want to look at farmers on the East coast such as Teresa Beam and Sean Obrien, northeastern farmers such as Bryan Jewel & Matt McMahon, southeastern farmers such as Dan & Jessica Perdue, or midwestern farmers such as Brett & Tara Rhoads, blackberries are one of our most heavily cultivated products. The reasons why seem clear: blackberries are a fruit that is not only enjoyable to the taste but also a rich source of vitamins, nutrients, and fiber content. It is little wonder why experienced chefs can incorporate it into their meals, just as much as farmers sing the plant’s praises.

Types of Blackberries

Something that many people do not know is that there are multiple types of blackberries. To be more precise, there are 8: Arapaho, Natchez, Apache, Ouachita, Hull, Chester, and Freedom. Each strain of blackberry planting has different characteristics, with variations in stem canes, harvest seasons, as well as size and leaf thorniness. Some strains are known for their great shelf life, such as Freedom blackberries, while others are known for their stockability, disease tolerance, and shape. Examples of these are Ouachita, Von, and Arapaho blackberries respectively. Farmers such as Sean Obrien grow Ouachita, and Natchez blackberries, which each are respectively known for their stockability, and elongated shape.

Growth Cycle

Another thing that many people do not know is that blackberries can have a remarkably long growth cycle. While this is not necessarily the case with all blackberries, it is not uncommon for your average blackberry planting to have a growth cycle of around 2 years. This also means that for farmers who plant blackberries, managing a harvest can be a challenging task with everything from managing shifts in the weather, to managing shifts in the marketplace. Farmers such as Teresa Beam really appreciate the role that Seal the Seasons plays in helping balance out the year to year shifts in marketplace demand for fresh market produce.

Rich in Vitamins

Blackberries are a great source of Vitamin C (23%dv per 100g serving), which is used by our bodies to grow, develop and repair all of our body tissues. It has also received recent praise for its role in bolstering our immune systems. Additionally, blackberries are a strong source of Vitamin K (16%dv per 100g serving), which assists with blood clotting, as well as building strong bones.

Rich in Minerals

Just as much as blackberries can be a quality source of Vitamin C & K, it is also a quality source of Minerals. Notably, blackberries are a rich source of Manganese (28%dv per 100g serving), which is said to play a role in blood sugar regulation, and is linked to lower instances of seizures. Additionally, blackberries are a great source of Copper (18%dv per 100g serving), which helps maintain strong bones, blood vessels, nerves and immune function. Together with the vitamins that are prominently found in blackberries, this small fruit can pack a huge punch in maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Currently Seal the Seasons offers blackberries in almost all of its regions, short of the west coast. For those of you who are interested in purchasing some of our blackberries, grown by local farmers such as Teresa Beam, Sean Obrien, Dan & Jessica Purdue, or Brett & Tara Rhoads, check out our where to buy section to find their product at a frozen food section near you!