In western Oregon, in late August, it’s hard to believe that there’s anything better than the taste of wild blackberries. But, there is. Working through the postwar years, George Waldo, a berry breeder with the U.S. Department of Agriculture working with Agricultural Experiment Station horticulturists, introduced a superior blackberry and named it after Marion County, where the berry had been extensively tested.
The marionberry is a magic blend of Oregon’s native blackberry, Rubus ursinus, with some R. armeniacus (the weedy Himalaya introduced from Europe in the late 1800s), and a bit of red raspberry. It grows on long trailing vines with fruit that is considered to be tastier and juicier than other blackberries.