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Tayberries are an aggregate fruit like their parents the blackberry and raspberry. They are composed of tiny individual drupelets that are held together by very fine, nearly invisible hairs. They are dark magenta or maroon when ripe and offer sweet-tart raspberry notes balanced by the rich lusciousness of a blackberry. They are native to the British Isles and other parts of Europe (currently found growing wild in Scotland) but they were first used for breeding commercial varieties in Oregon. They didn't become widely available until the late 20th century. Tayberries, like their raspberry parentage, grow into upright canes that fruit on one-year-old wood; but unlike raspberries, they can fruit on 2-year old wood, and will produce a succession of berries throughout the summer until the first frost. Because their growth patterns are so different from other bramble fruits, commercial growers have to be mindful of how close together with their rows are spaced – for example planting them only 3 feet apart instead of the usual 4.5 feet for blackberries. Tayberries are very tart until they ripen fully – it is best to pick them slightly under-ripe and let them fully ripen at room temperature indoors. If you have a lot of them, you can make a quick jam or jelly with small amounts of pectin added to speed the setting. I like to make them into a sauce similar to blackberry sauce, but you could crush them and mix them with yogurt or sour cream for a wonderful dip (or use as an accompaniment to fish). They also make excellent wine. Tayberries will grow in zones 4-10. If you are looking for ways to enjoy ornamental berries, Tayberries are an excellent choice. The magenta color of their foliage is stunning, and they make great low-growing ground covers under the shade of trees. The plants grow about 1-2 feet tall, with a 2-5 foot spread. Tayberries are available at local nurseries in the Mid-Atlantic region in 4-inch pots. Because they are new to the market (and their popularity is growing rapidly) be sure to get your plants early before they sell out. The Tayberry plant will produce berries for seven years or more. At our homestead, we have a quarter acre of tayberries that not only provide us with enough fruit for jams and jellies, but also gobs of fresh berries to eat, and wine. They are well-suited for the warm summer climate in southeastern Pennsylvania. Their prickly nature helps them deter pests. I've even used their canes in my chicken wire fencing around my blueberry bushes to provide added protection against predators. Tayberries are an excellent choice for individuals looking to grow their food at home or on a homestead. As you can see, they are easy to plant and care for, and rewarding in terms of yield. They don't require much water but do need regular meals of fertilizer (I rely on composted manure).

Global tayberry production

In 2016, the global production of tayberry was estimated at around 1,200 metric tons. The majority of tayberry production takes place in Europe, with the United Kingdom being the largest producer. Other major producers include Italy, Germany, and France. Tayberries are a relative newcomer to the fruit world, having only been developed in the 1970s. However, they have quickly become a popular choice for both home gardeners and commercial growers alike. The tayberry is a cross between a blackberry and a raspberry, and it shares many characteristics with both of its parent fruits. Tayberries are large and round, with a deep red color. They have a sweet flavor with a hint of tartness, making them versatile fruit that can be used in both sweet and savory dishes. Tayberries are typically harvested from late June to early July, although the exact timing will depend on the variety and growing conditions. They are best eaten fresh, but can also be frozen or made into jams and other preserves.

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