Blackberries love our land at Umami Farms. The earth bursts naturally with blackberries, blueberries, grapes, ferns and quaking aspen. We’ve tried to force the land to submit to our will (unsuccessfully) for three years. Constantly in a battle with predator pressure and wildlife eating our crops, we took a step back and asked “What is the land giving us naturally? What can we cultivate that is the path of least resistance?” Taking hikes over the mountain acres here on the farm, we see so many varieties of ferns, so many trees, grapes growing everywhere, blackberries, and blueberries. We have decided to embrace nature’s abundance.
At Umami Farms, we have grown used to our feet and legs covered with scratches from thorns. Why? Blackberry plants are everywhere on our land. There are spots where the groundcover is blackberry plants. Some plants are viney along the ground and some grow bushy. The trick is to prune and work the bushy ones into something useful. I have an idea for the viney groundcover variety: hanging pots. People could grow blackberries in a hanging basket and the vines would grow well. That will be my next experiment.
Jess took an online course on raspberry and blackberry cultivation through Penn State Extension to learn about our new crop. I applied for (and received) a nursery license from the State of Pennsylvania, and now we’re cultivating blackberry plants for sale. We’re still figuring out a good distribution method, but for now, we’re happy to sell our plants online.