Our Blackberry Operation
Barbara Jones started her blackberry operation in 2002. She operates it very much like Jim does his sweet potato micropropagation operation. Her source of mother blackberry plants is the NC State Microprogation Unit (MPUR).

Barbara started growing blackberries on one-and-a half acres of land, and seven years later, she was growing four acres of blackberries. Barbara's plants produce over 60,000 pounds of berries a year, a figure far exceeding average yield numbers.

Barbara now ships plants all over the US. Her biggest bulk customer for berries is Trader Joe’s, a specialty grocery store chain.

Barbara employs a shift-trellis system that keeps all the berries on one side of the canes, so they can be picked in the shade. Because heat and light turn blackberries back to their red or “not-yet-ripe” appearance and can cause white spots, boxes of already picked blackberries are collected every 15 minutes and taken to an on-site cooler.

In addition to production, the Joneses still sell the plants and are certified with regular state inspections. It takes two years to get berries from a plant, but a healthy cane can produce for 12-15 years.

Barbara keeps the blackberry mother plants for three years and takes cuttings only from those mother plants. She then replaces the three-year-old mother plants with new microprogated virus-indexed plants.