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What are Loganberries?

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  • Written By: Mary McMahon
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 20 March 2014
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A loganberry is a cross between a blackberry and a raspberry. Loganberries appear to have been produced by accident in Oregon in the 1800s, and they quickly spread all the way South to Mexico. In the Pacific Northwest, loganberries are a very popular berry, and many people like to cultivate them at home. Commercial loganberries tend to be expensive, because the plants are difficult to manage commercially and the berries are very hard to harvest.

Credit for the development of the loganberry usually goes to James Harvey Logan, a judge who lived in Oregon in the 1800s. He had a casual interest in gardening, and in the late 1800s, he set about cross breeding various blackberry cultivars in an effort to develop the perfect berry. According to popular legend, he planted some blackberry canes close to some raspberries, and the loganberry was born.

When ripe, loganberries are a rich purple red color, and they are very juicy. They tend to hide underneath the leaves of their parent plant, which can make them hard to harvest. Loganberries also have notoriously thorny canes, and they can savage unwary berry fans as a result. However, they are also extremely hardy, making them a popular choice for gardens in cooler regions of the Pacific Northwest; as long as loganberries are in a reasonably sunny, sheltered area, they will take off in the garden.

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Like blackberries and raspberries, loganberries can be eaten fresh out of hand and they can also be used raw in things like fruit salad. They are also superb in pies, cakes, and other baked goods, and they can be turned into jams, preserves, compotes, and syrup as well. Loganberry muffins are a popular offering at bakeries in the Pacific Northwest, and some cooks freeze the berries to have access to them year round.

If you're interested in growing loganberries, your local gardening store may be able to order in some starter cane for you. Plant the canes in loamy soil in a sheltered area of your garden with some sun exposure, and support them with sturdy stakes or a trellis. Once the canes establish themselves, trim them back to encourage even branches which will bear easily accessible fruit. After canes fruit, cut them back to the ground so that they will sprout and fruit again in a year. The canes also appreciate rich, well composted soil, and they will flourish if they are regularly fertilized.

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Discuss this Article

anon318539
Post 10

I actually only knew about loganberries from when I was young living in Buffalo, NY and would go over the Peace Bridge into Canada to Crystal Beach. There they sold Loganberry Juice -- yum! I am now in my 60s and just went online and ordered some syrup to make the drink here in CA. It's kind of a nostalgia trip, I guess. They also sold a crunchy treat with powdered sugar called a waffle, but it wasn't your typical waffle. Is anybody out there from that area?

anon211224
Post 9

I never knew what a Loganberry was until this website. I just heard about it on Shrek 3.

Hawthorne
Post 8

You know, I'll bet the difficulty in harvesting them is the reason why most people haven't heard of loganberries.

I mean, let's face it, when you say "I bought a raspberry bush" everybody's going to know what you mean. If you say "I bought a loganberry bush", people are going to go, "What's a loganberry?"

As the article says, loganberries are difficult to harvest, so they're not grown commercially as much. Production costs are higher, because it takes more hours to pick the same amount of berries you might get off of a blackberry bush or a raspberry bush, and so the cost of the berries in stores is higher.

Since the workers will probably have to go to more trouble to harvest the loganberries, loganberries pickers probably have higher salaries than raspberry pickers, too.

All in all, loganberries are troublesome enough that most businesses would probably much rather deal with raspberries than them, and so loganberries aren't very available. Which is a shame, because after reading all about them, I really, really want to try one.

aishia
Post 7

@seHiro - Don't be so sure, seHiro. Remember, humans never actually started to flourish and build big cities and develop our technology much until we stopped being hunter-gatherers and started growing grain crops and cultivating agriculture.

Agriculture is extremely important to a society -- I'm surprised we've let our attention slip away from it so much. People have stopped paying attention to things like how society runs, because everybody wants to just get home from work and relax for a few hours before they have to start the vicious cycle over again.

I for one think learning how to grow more berries and veggies is a fantastic step in the right direction. I got to this article in the first place because I'm researching berries I can grow in the Pacific Northwest, where I live, and loganberries are sounding like a perfect choice.

seHiro
Post 6

@malmal - Society's not going to crash. People keep saying that, but look at us -- the United States alone has been through many stages in which everybody thought that society as we knew it was going to collapse, and they survived fine anyway.

I'm betting that if anything does happen to the way things are run right now, it'll be due to dwindling resources or war.

If it's war, we really can't do much to help ourselves except grow our own food at home, because if you haven't noticed the United States is packed full of imported things and not that many American-made things anymore.

Now, for dwindling resources, fossil fuels is number one on the list. If we ran out, the world wouldn't end -- we'd just invent new ways to make power!

Honestly, also, I think knowing how to raise livestock like beef cows would be way more useful than learning how to grow raspberries or loganberries or whatever. Just my two cents.

malmal
Post 5

@TheGraham - Somehow I doubt growing berries is going to sustain somebody's entire diet, but I get what you're talking about.

Yes, the days of being self sufficient are dwindling lately, since all of these huge businesses want people to buy their food products, and people are so busy living life and working that they don't want to be bothered to cook anything for themselves anymore.

I take heart in the fact that there are still communities with old-fashioned farmers who grow blueberries and loganberries and other stuff like that.

Even though berries aren't a sustaining kind of crop, these farmers are bound to know way more about how to grow actual food crops like corn than the average person if and when society has some big disaster and we need to get back to our agricultural roots.

TheGraham
Post 4

@burcidi - You really are lucky -- I wish I lived somewhere cool enough for a logan berry bush to grow in my back yard, but unfortunately I'm in Arizona. I'm a big fan of berries and growing your own food, and the thought of growing logan berries to make your own jams and jellies sounds so appealing to me.

I think it's really important that people hold onto the old time skills, like how to can your own food and how to use food that grows naturally.

With how much food is processed these days, and how few people actually cook at home anymore instead of just buying things frozen or ordering fast food, I'm afraid cooking and canning are dying arts.

What if we lose all connection with what real food is, and then someday technology has a big failure and we suddenly have to be self-reliant again? The people who can as hobbies will be the ones laughing then.

burcidi
Post 3

My dad grows loganberries. He works quite a bit on them because they really do need regular care. After they give fruit for that season, the vines die and the root remains. My dad has to support the root and apply fertilizer to the soil throughout the year so that it will sprout again next year. I think that's a lot of work but he enjoys gardening, so he doesn't mind.

Loganberries are really great though. They look like raspberries but have a distinct flavor. You can make the best sorbet with it in the summer. I'm really lucky to have them available in our garden!

ShellM89
Post 2

@SarahGrove – Loganberry drinks are definitely delicious. One thing I like about it is that they are not carbonated. Even though it is sweet, the berry flavor gives it a wonderfully refreshing taste. If you ever get the chance to have some I highly recommend it.

I was not aware the loganberries are a cross between raspberries and blackberries. I would love to try growing a loganberry plant. I guess that since we can grow raspberry plants where we live that loganberries would grow here, too.

One of my favorite things for breakfast is our fresh raspberries with our homemade granola and yogurt. It is to die for! I bet it would be good with loganberries, too.

SarahGrove
Post 1

I loved visiting my grandma in Oregon when I was young. One of my favorite memories is her wonderful homemade loganberry jam on her homemade bread. She would serve it to me every morning, which was my special request.

One of my friends said a favorite treat of hers as a young child was a loganberry drink that her great aunt used to serve when she visited family in Buffalo, New York. I have never heard of a loganberry drink but I bet it is delicious.

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