Berries and Small Fruits News

A new star may be rising in Oregon’s blackberry fields

The next great Oregon blackberry may be growing in the demonstration plots at Oregon State University’s North Willamette Research and Extension Station.

Chad Finn, the USDA breeder who developed it, named it Columbia Star — a nod to Oregon and Washington and the river they share, and to its quality.

Time will tell, as it always does with plant breeding. But if it takes off, as Finn believes likely, Columbia Star may surpass the venerable Marion, which since introduction in 1956 has become the most widely planted blackberry cultivar in the world.

Read more in the Capital Press »

Prepare for the luscious taste of homegrown blueberries: Gardening basics

Put blueberry plants in now for a great crop of sweet, healthful fruit in the future.

Three categories of blueberry plants are best-suited for Oregon climates: Northern highbush varieties, rabbiteye varieties and half-high varieties, according to Bernadine Strik, a berry specialist with the Oregon State University Extension Service.

Read more in the Oregonian »

Plant sweet berries for summertime flavor

From strawberry jam to fruit salad, nothing says summer quite like the succulent strawberry.

What’s more, these sweet berries are also packed with vitamin C, fiber and potassium. So think about enhancing your edible landscape with healthful strawberries this spring. It’s best to plant them in late March through April after the threat of hard frost has passed in western Oregon, said Bernadine Strik, a berry specialist with the Oregon State University Extension Service.

“The key thing to remember about strawberries is that there are three main types grown in Oregon,” Strik said.

Read more in the Hillsboro Tribune »

New Berry Extension Resources Available Online

EC 1618, Strawberry cultivars for western Oregon and Washington
Authors: Chad E. Finn, Bernadine C. Strik, and Patrick P. Moore
Revised February 2014, 8 pages, NC

PNW 655, Raspberry cultivars for the Pacific Northwest
Authors: Chad E. Finn, Bernadine C. Strik, and Patrick P. Moore
New February 2014, 11 pages, NC
This replaces EC 1310, Raspberry Cultivars for Oregon

PNW 656, Blueberry cultivars for the Pacific Northwest
Authors: Bernadine C. Strik, Chad E. Finn, and Patrick P. Moore
New February 2014, 13 pages, NC
This replaces EC 1308, Blueberry Cultivars for Oregon

Blackberries: The aromatic, flavorful cultivated variety

When you're planning this year's garden, don't overlook one of the unsung heroes of the fruit world – the blackberry.

"Many people don't want to plant blackberries in their yard because they think it's an invasive weed," said Bernadine Strik, a berry crops specialist with the Oregon State University Extension Service. “But they're actually thinking of the Himalaya blackberry, which is an invasive weed introduced to Oregon in the late 1800s that is very difficult to kill.”

Read more in the Oregonian »

Blackberry Cultivars for Oregon

EC 1617, Blackberry Cultivars for Oregon

Authors: Chad E. Finn and Bernadine C. Strik

New January 2014, 10 pages, NC

Wish Oregon strawberry season was longer?

Oregon strawberries — everyone gets excited when they come into season because they are so fragrant and have amazing flavor.

Those in the know say we are in for an early harvest thanks to the warm spring weather we experienced. But, alas, the season is short. It generally lasts through the month of June. But Oregon State University and USDA’s Agricultural Research Service are putting their heads together to see how the Oregon strawberry season can be extended.

Read more in the Portland Tribune »

Berry bliss; early, abundant

Lane County strawberries are making up for arriving about two weeks late last year: They arrived about two weeks early this year, said Ross Penhallegon, longtime agent with the Oregon State University extension service.

Although not every grower’s berries ripen at the same time, the season generally starts around June 15 in Lane County, Penhallegon said, and normally lasts four to eight weeks, although not all farms have berries throughout that period. This year’s mild spring accounts for the earlier start.

Read more in the Register-Guard »

OSU Interdisciplinary Team Paper is Named ASHS Outstanding Extension Publication for 2012

An interdisciplinary paper, written by a team comprised of Research Associate Julian James from Agricultural & Resource Economics, Professor Bernadine Strik and Courtesy Faculty David Bryla from Horticulture, and Associate Professor Dan Sullivan from Crop and Soil Science has been awarded the 2012 American Society for Horticultural Science Outstanding Publication Award.

The paper, "Costs of Establishing Organic Northern Highbush Blueberry: Impacts of Planting Method, Fertilization, and Mulch Type" will be on display at the 110th ASHS Annual Conference in Palm Springs, CA, from July 22 - July 25, 2013. The team will be honored at an awards ceremony during the conference, as well. 

Strawberry Fields No More

Strawberry acreage in the state peaked at more than 18,000 acres in the 1950s, said Bernadine Strik, Oregon State University professor of horticulture. Today, it stands at only 1,900 acres.

Read more in the Albany Democrat-Herald.

Spotted Wing Drosophila Makes an Early Appearance

For the first time since the spotted wing drosophila arrived in the Northwest three years ago, the fly appears to be a threat to strawberries and cherries.


Spotted Wing Drosophila in Berries and Small Fruits

The most up-to-date spotted wing Drosophila information, including pest alerts, can be found at