Loganberry

Loganberry

Mmmmmm . . . the Famous Blackberry-Raspberry Mash-Up!


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Loganberry is one of those plants that, as soon as you start growing it, you wonder why you haven't had it in the garden all along. It flies under the radar, somehow, because it is not often marketed commercially. Yet many of the traits that make it wrong for mass production by machines make it just right for hand-picking by human beings!

You may be wondering just what a loganberry is. Well, in 1881 it was a happy accident. A California farmer (bet you can guess his name!) was trying to improve the quality of his blackberries by crossing different varieties, as farmers have done since ancient times. Trouble was, he also had some raspberry plants near by. Mr. Logan didn't even realize what he'd done until the first fruit arrived, lighter than a blackberry but more succulent than he could ever have imagined. The Loganberry was born -- and within 10 years it was a delicacy in Europe as well as the U.S. Luther Burbank, that fabulous plantsman, got a hold of it and released an exciting variety in 1905 that became the standard for many years. Other new cultivars have come and gone. Loganberries remain a wonderful delicacy, highly sought and always yummy.

The reason they are so rare has to do with the plant habit and the growth process. Unlike raspberries, blueberries, and blackberries, Loganberries can't be harvested quickly and mechanically. This shrub sets fruit among thorns, and the berries mature at different times, so a single cane will have ripe, nearly ripe, unripe, and just-begun fruit altogether, making mechanization impossible. The harvest begins in midsummer in most climates, and can go right into fall on the same shrub.

Of course, all of this (except maybe the thorns!) is great news for the home gardener. What fun to harvest a handful of berries every few day for 2 to 3 months! No pressure to get it all in and jammed before it goes bad; instead, you have fresh eating for a much longer season. And a single shrub will deliver between 15 and 18 pounds of fruit per year on average, so you aren't talking about just a few berries here. Loganberries are highly productive!

Loganberries are also far more disease resistant and frost tolerant than most other berries. These plants are naturally robust, ready to fruit for 15 years or more. They will even self-propagate! Zones 6-9.