Friday, August 17, 2007

Pick gently and carry a big bowl

The blackberry is tasty, nutritious — and causes great pain to those brave enough to try to tangle with the vine. (Picture: Oregon Raspberry and Blackberry Commission)

If you walk along fields, visit parks, or have an untended part of your garden in many places here in Oregon, chances are you probably have come across a prickly problem that can be a source of great aggravation.


The fast-growing, stubborn, persistent, and downright dangerous vine can overcome the best efforts or eradication. Many a sobbing gardener has abandoned a brave battle against blackberries and turned to easier challenges instead. Such as learning to play chess. Or figuring out how long does it take an Amtrak train to get from point A to point B if it stopped for three days for maintenance in Seattle along the way. Or calculate how much money Barry Bonds made for each pitch he missed hitting a home run.

All this would be much easier than fighting blackberries.

However, not everyone loathes blackberries. Admittedly, the berries are tasty — particularly so if a person is relaxed and bought them from someone else that picked them.

The Oregon Raspberry and Blackberry Commission plays up the nutritional value of the berries. In a scientific study, the berry was found to be the number one antioxidant food per saving. In another study, according to the Oregon Department of Agriculture, the extract from fresh blackberries was found to reduce cancerous tumors prevent the spread of cancer cells.

ODA, in a press release recently, said almost all the blackberries in the country are grown in Oregon, and the production value is $35 million.

Probably most people — while pulling, tugging, fighting, cutting, and screaming at the vines on their land — don’t think that this could be a valuable source of income.

They’re too busy attempting to find Band-Aids and worrying about how long scars will last.

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