If you’ve been eagerly awaiting Oregon berry season, you aren’t alone. Portland’s Ken Forkish (owner of Ken’s Artisan Bakery and three-time semi-finalist for the James Beard Award for Outstanding Pastry Chef) fully embraces the bounty of Oregon berries each summer. “The joy is in the variety that we have. Once summer kicks in, it is a different berry every week,” he says. With local berries ripening throughout the season, you can enjoy a summer of fruit.
Look for strawberries from early May through June and then again in August through September. “Late season strawberries have more flavor because they get more sunshine,” Forkish says. Totem, Hood Tillamook, Firecracker, Puget Reliance, Puget Summer and Redcrest are popular varieties. Starting in June, the bakery turns out a lovely strawberry tart along with a macaron made with strawberries and buttercream.
Raspberries ripen mid-June through July with others coming in mid-August through September. Red, Black and Evergreen raspberries are common favorites.
From July into September you’ll find local blueberries — Berkeley, Bluetta, Bluejay, Bluecrop, Duke, Earliblue, Elliott, Jersey, Liberty, Powder Blue and Rubel.
The boysenberry — thought to be the result of a blackberry crossed with a Loganberry or red raspberry — reigns mid-July through mid-August.
Marionberry season also starts in mid-July and goes into August. This Chehalem blackberry and Olallieberry cross is named for Marion County where it was first cultivated in the 1950s and is known as the cabernet of blackberries.
Lucky Forkish has local farmers who deliver directly to his bakery. The rest of us can find fresh berries at many of the 100-plus farmers’ markets statewide. Do-it-yourselfers will enjoy U-pick farms on the Hood River County Fruit Loop, The Vineyard and Valley Scenic Tour Route, Canby Farm Loop and farms throughout the Willamette Valley and Southern Oregon.
Celebrate with other berry lovers July 20-21 at the EcoTrust Building in Portland at the Oregon Berry Festival. Admission is free, and you’ll find Oregon berries transformed into ice creams, pies, cobblers, jams, shortcakes, sauces, liqueurs, chocolates, sodas and much more. Or check out these Oregon berry recipes and cook up your own delicious dessert.
Enjoy a season of berry goodness!