NORTHWEST BERRIES: WHAT TO LOOK FOR, AND WHEN
Berries are usually sold under their generic names, as blackberries, blueberries, and raspberries. The truth is, each type has many hybrids ― which look and taste similar but mature at different times, thus extending the growing season. Occasionally they'll be labeled with their individual names; look for these varieties from the Northwest.
BLACKBERRIES (July through September)
Marionberries The queen of blackberries, against whose deep flavor all other berries are judged.
Boysenberries Sweeter and juicier than marionberries, but less intense.
Wild Evergreen and Himalayan Looked down on by cultivators as bitter and one-dimensional, these are the blackberries that grow on brambles around the West.
Loganberries A blackberry-raspberry cross, the red-hued loganberry dates from the 1880s and was a staple of the berry industry until the marionberry appeared in 1956. It's much bigger than a raspberry and is juicy and sweet, like a blackberry should be.
BLUEBERRIES (June through September)
Duke First to ripen; slightly sweeter than other varieties.
Elliott Midseason; deep flavor makes them particularly good for baking.
Aurora Last to market ― usually well into September.
RASPBERRIES (June, July, and September)
Black Short July season. Drier than red ones; seedy and a bit tart. Hard to find beyond local farmers' markets; available frozen from Sturm's Berry Farm ($57–$70 for 5 lbs., including shipping; 866/402-9058).
Golden Sweeter and more delicately flavored than red ones.
Red Available throughout the growing season; rarely labeled with variety name.
Next: u-pick berries around the West