The gorgeous, warm days we’ve been having in Santa Cruz has us all thinking of Spring. I might be biased by my recent research for the Heritage Food Project, but for me Springtime means one thing – the start of berry season! Although strawberries and raspberries are already showing up on grocery store shelves, you’ll have to wait for just the right time before heading out to a You-Pick to find the lesser-known stars of our region: olallieberries and loganberries. Have you ever tried either of these berries? Or maybe I should first ask- have you ever heard of them? If not, take the time to search for them this spring and summer, you will be glad you did. In talking about my research, many people are surprised to find out that Santa Cruz is the birthplace of the very first Loganberry plant.
Judge James Harvey Logan created the berry in his own yard by mistake in the 1880’s. He was trying to create a new strain of blackberries so he had planted a couple of different blackberry varieties. And just for fun, he planted some raspberries too. The raspberries crossed with one of the blackberries, and just like that, an entirely new berry was born. Fortunately for us, Judge Logan realized he had something new growing and he made a point to continue cultivation of the new berry. I wonder if he ever imagined that over 130 years later his backyard berry hobby would be featured in our project?