Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Breaking the Color Barrier

Have you seen blackberries lately? They're enormous. At least the ones I see in the grocery stores around here. They are so big, it's kind of scary. They don't look like the blackberries I grew up knowing, and it makes me wonder if they are even the same fruit. Let's take a look, shall we?

Exhibit A

The blackberry in Exhibit A reminds me a lot of the blackberries we used to find growing wild on the family farm over in western Wisconsin. We never found very many, but the few berries we did find were round, hollow in the middle like a raspberry, fairly sweet, and small - much smaller than any raspberries that you could find anywhere. And they were delicate, prone to falling apart if you looked at them the wrong way. You pretty much had to eat them as soon as you plucked them off the vine, and both my sister and I were happy to do so. These are the blackberries I knew and loved. You couldn't buy blackberries at the store, which made the few we found growing wild just that much more special.

Exhibit B. On a side note, if anyone from the Srixon company would like to sponsor this post, I would be all for it. I give Srixon golf balls two thumbs up!!

A few years ago, blackberries, like the one in Exhibit B, started showing up in our local supermarkets. They definitely weren't like the blackberries I had known as a child. In fact, they resembled the old blackberries from my memory in their color only - they were, indeed, black. Nothing else about them looked like the blackberries I knew. They were large, oblong, and crazy looking. They looked like blackberries that had been given BGH (Blackberry Growth Hormone). They looked out of place amongst all the other natural-looking fruits. In fact, it took me a while to feel comfortable eating them, and when I did, I noticed another strange thing: they aren't put together like the blackberries I knew; they aren't hollow in the middle, but instead there is a weird core that all the little knobby things are attached to. It's weird. It's like they're not even the same fruit as I remember...

So, all these strange things make me wonder, "What is going on with blackberries?" Have they evolved since I was a kid? Are they a totally different fruit that they are trying to tell us are blackberries? If I took BGH, would I be able to hit more homeruns in my softball games? And, would it be detectable in a drug test? I suppose I could get on Google and find answers to all these probing questions. To be honest, though, I've grown tired of this rant. I'll just eat the yummy things, BGH and all.


  1. Fascinating post, Scott. I am wondering if what you are seeing are two different strains of blackberries? I know several kinds grow around here (Seattle, Washington). There are wild Himalaya plants, and the other, more common ones that take over empty spaces. The ones I'm most familiar with have the "solid core" you mention - but they aren't huge like golf balls! You're right, I've been seeing these monsters in the grocery stores also. Verrrrrry interesting...

    Evelyn (a fellow AW-er)

    1. First of all, Evelyn, thank you for finding my blog. And thank you for noticing that it is fascinating. I think I am the only other person to think so, so it is nice to know somebody else in the world thinks like me. :) Please come back often, and if you feel inclined, command all your friends, acquaintances and enemies to do the same! :)