Blackberries can be a pain. They are covered in thorns, making the fruit hard to get to, and also require a good amount of tender loving care. However, the rewards of a good crop are well worth the cost. That is why ADE is working on harvesting the potential of blackberries in order to benefit the communities in which it operates.
Thanks to a generous donation from the Fabio Baudrit Moreno Experimental Agriculture Station in Fraijanes, ADE was able to begin planting a variety of hybrid blackberry. Due to the altitude and climate in the Vara Blanca locale, wild blackberries of approximately five different varieties thrive very well here. Additionally, the strain of blackberry, which ADE is now working with, has been proven to grow and produce exceedingly well in these climates. To date, working with the blackberry crop has required much planting and re-planting (as some seedlings die from overexposure or are excavated by armadillos). Also, the plants have required weeding, pruning of dead stems and leaves and cutting off of buds, flowers and new fruits (to give more energy back to the plant). The future rewards, however, will be truly worth the efforts.
Currently, ADE is working with community members in Vara Blanca, San Rafael and La Legua to start a blackberry cooperative. The initial plan for this organization will be to sell the raw fruit in the communities and then eventually sell in mass to canning companies so that the harvest can be produced into jams. Eventually, ADE may also oversee the initiation of a canning operation to accompany the blackberry cooperative so that canned product may be produced in-house. Beginning stages of this plan are well under way, and we’re excited to see what may happen next.