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Luscious Blackberry Ready for Farms, Gardens

By Marcia Wood
August 25, 1998

Large, sweet, aromatic blackberries called "Triple Crown" may begin showing up in supermarkets around the country within the next few years, now that nurseries are planning to sell the plants for the first time.

Triple Crown is the newest thornless blackberry from the Agricultural Research Service's Fruit Laboratory, Beltsville, Md. The berry gets its name from three crowning attributes–flavor, productivity and vigor. It ripens from about mid-July to about mid-August.

Two West coast nurseries, Sakuma Brothers Farms, Inc., Burlington Wash., and Cedar Valley Nursery, Inc., Centralia, Wash., intend to offer Triple Crown plants for sale for the first time this summer. Indiana Berry & Plant Co., Huntingburg, Ind., plans to sell Triple Crown this fall. In 1999, Nourse Farms, Inc., South Deerfield, Mass., and Weeks Berry Nursery, Keizer, Ore., expect to have a supply of the new blackberry.

ARS scientists tested Triple Crown for a decade before releasing it in 1996. The berry is suited to berry farms, pick-your-own operations and backyard gardens. It should help ensure a steady mid-summer supply of big, flavorful berries that ship well.

In Oregon trials, 8-year-old Triple Crown plants yielded an impressive 30 pounds or more of berries per plant. Puree tests by ARS and Oregon State University scientists determined that the berry is also suitable for juice, pies, syrup, preserves and other processed foods. Triple Crown rated equal to the popular Chester Thornless and Marion blackberries in color, flavor and overall quality.

Test plantings indicate Triple Crown is well adapted to the Mid-Atlantic and Pacific Coast states. Researchers expect Triple Crown to also flourish in the lower Midwest and New England berry-growing regions.

Scientific contact: Scientific contact: John L. Maas, ARS Fruit Laboratory, Beltsville Agricultural Research Center, Beltsville, Md., phone (301) 504-7653, fax (301) 504-5062,

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