My blackberry ‘Quachita’ is without doubt ‘the best’. I planted it about three years ago. D T Brown (dtbrownseeds.co.uk) have it in their catalogue and if you are thinking of planting a blackberry, this is ‘the’ one.
The flowers are lovely in spring, large and single, and a forecast of how much fruit there will be in summer. Its stems are thornless, so picking is easy and it fruits and fruits. It started ripening on 21 July this year and I thought I would possibly miss the harvest, since I was away for a fortnight, but thanks to a kind friend I have some in the freezer and, when I came home, the fruit on it was still ripening. I have picked colanders of 500gm of fruit on most days since my return in early August. And there is much more fruit to come.
‘Quachita’ was bred in the US and has an upright growth habit, sending out strong wands in summer. It is described as a Floricane variety, since these stems or canes carry next year’s flowers and fruit. After the harvest, in late autumn, I cut back the stems that have fruited and tie in the strong, flagpole-like new stems to the wire and metal support structure in my garden.
I do eat as I pick… one of the pleasures of growing and picking your own fruit. And I give some away… but there is still enough for transforming into delicious carmine to pink ice cream, jam and of course, blackberry and apple crumble.
On a hot day the ripe fruit is warm, and the burst of its sweet and sharp flavour is pure pleasure. I love the way the fruit ripens in swathes and usually from the flowering end downwards.
Well, the next colander is ready and waiting to be picked and prepped and this time jam is on the agenda.