The large juicy raspberries were a bonus, unlike the twisted blackberry vines covering part of the overgrown property. We found that following one long blackberry vine to the source leads to another heading a different direction. Where did our Himalayan blackberries originate?

Life was changing dramatically in America at the end of the 19th century. People were moving from rural areas to towns and cities–including Seattle. Industrialization was creating a new midddle class.

Down the coast in Santa Rosa, California, an eccentric guy named Luther Burbank was hard at work on his experimental farm. Burbank didn’t have any formal training, but he was working to breed strange and wonderful new kinds of plants.

Burbank realizes that the new middle class is going to want to have fresh fruits and vegetables, not canned peas and beans. But in order to do that the new varieties are going to have to be able to be shipped on the nation’s new transcontinental railroad.

Burbank’s creations could be weird, like a spineless cactus. His potato-tonato hybrid never took off, but others were smash hits, like the freestone peach and elep[hant garlic.


Author: kaytisweetlandrasmussen83

I am a retired fine arts teacher, sculptor/painter, writer, and a native Californian. I love my family,dogs, horses, movies, reading and music, probably in that order. I have been married forever to a very nice man who is nice to old ladies, dogs and children.

10 thoughts on “A TWISTED TALE”

  1. Oh, my. Better to do a part two than to put yourself through the trauma of trying to take down the post. Of course, there’s a third alternative, that I used on my last Etheree — when you hit publish rather than update draft, just continue right on doing “live” edits and hope you can get it fixed up before too many people find it!

    It’s never occurred to me that Santa Rosa plums might actually come from Santa Rosa. Were they developed by Burbank? They certainly are good.

    I’m old enough that I still remember it being a real treat to find an apple, an orange, and a handful of exotic nuts in my Christmas stocking. We just didn’t have those things in the wintertime when I was in grade school. By the time I had reached junior high, the budget wasn’t as tight, and the store had more offerings, but the tradition of fruit at Christmas endured.

    I’m looking forward to Part 2!


    1. It’s such a surprise to find you have inadvertently clicked the wrong button. Yes we can thank Burbank for many things including the Santa Rosa plum.
      My Christmas stocking too was stocked with nuts and oranges, or sometimes small tangerines. We have a large orange tree which makes it nice to go out and pick your orange juice in the morning.


      1. When I lived in Liberia, we had grapefruit, papaya, and avocado trees galore. Oranges, too. It was wonderful. I still like a salad of banana, grapefruit, and avocado. Yum!


  2. Sebastopol and the surrounding area including Pt. Reyes and Bodega Bay are among my all time favorite areas. Absolutely gorgeous. No wonder Burbank settled in the area. As for Himalayan Blackberries, they fill our canyon. Great berries but a hassle. I keep having to tell them they need to stay in the canyon. đŸ™‚ –Curt


    1. We always got our Gravenstein apples from Sebastopol. It’s lovely up there. Brentwood always gave us peaches and Blenheim apricots. The Himalayan blackberries we had in Seattle were so bad I threatened to send them over to Viet Nam during the war. I figured their tangled mess would trap the Viet Kong. Oregon however has delicious blackberries.


  3. Those Himalayan blackberries are taking over Vancouver Island, along with the “Scotch” broom. The blackberries are very good if you get them at the right moment, but they are almost impossible to get rid of.


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