For those of us who eat with our eyes first, a new blackberry that's sure to be a stunner is available. The 2-inch-long and 1-inch-wide behemoth is called 'Black Butte'. "It's perfect for people who want to grow the biggest," says Chad E. Finn, who helped develop the berry at the USDA's Agricultural Research Service Station in Corvallis, Oregon. Also, according to Finn, it's the largest blackberry ever grown at the research station since its inception 70 years ago; the fruit is nearly double the size of most varieties, including the fresh market standard, 'Marion'.
Developed specifically for the fresh market and home gardeners, 'Black Butte' fruits are black and firm and have good texture and flavor. The two-fifths-ounce fruits ripen in late June, about a full month earlier than others of its type.
The plants are similar to other trailing-type blackberries in habit and vigor. Fruiting laterals extend from plants and support fruit without breaking, making harvest easier. The canes are moderately thorny. 'Black Butte' plants have been tested in both the West and the East in the United States as well as British Columbia, England, and New Zealand. They are hardy from zone 7b through zone 9.