Exhibition tips for Blackberries
Blackberries are not often seen at summer shows, perhaps because perfectly shown blackberries are only awarded eight points, a relatively small number when compared to the maximum of twenty points allotted to dessert apples, peaches and some grapes. Secondly, many blackberry varieties are unlikely to be ripe for the early and midsummer shows, and a cold, wet summer can mean that no blackberries will be ripe for the late summer shows either. However, no special cultivation requirements are necessary and, if the weather has been reasonable, well-cared for canes should have plenty of berries up to show standard.
Thirty blackberries is the usual number required. Leave the picking to the last possible moment, so that the berries arrive at the show bench as fresh as possible. Select twice the number required, so you will have plenty of replacements, should you need them. Cut the berries, leaving about 2.5 cm (1”) of the stalk attached.
Display the berries in a single layer in a shallow plate or dish. The judges will look for large fruits, fully ripe and well coloured, without any blemishes, and with stalks intact.