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What Are Tayberries?

A Sweet (and Sour) Taste of Tayberries

I grew up in a fruit-forward household, so I'm intrigued whenever I come across a variety I don't recognize. So when I found an article about mythical-sounding fruits called tayberries, I knew I needed to try them for myself. A cross between the Aurora blackberry and a European raspberry variety, this relatively young berry breed was developed at the Scottish Horticultural Research Institute, and named after the country's River Tay. It's been said to resemble the tart loganberry — a fruit I've never had the pleasure of trying — but with a sweeter finish. Follow me on my search to locate tayberries and see my comparison photos after the jump.

Fragile tayberries aren't often sold commercially. But at the farmers market, I was able to track some down from Yerena Farms. Poli Yerena, who happens to be the nicest farmer I've ever met, seemed surprised when I inquired about them. "Well, I only have two crates left, so I didn't put them out. The rest are going to restaurants," he said, producing a crate of gleaming, sangria-hued clusters from the back of his truck.

Although tayberry season runs from July through mid-August, Poli explained that they don't produce continually like raspberries do, but rather have one large, short cropping period. He handed me an open carton for a taste. They were full of seeds and juice like blackberries, but had the conical shape and the color of a raspberry. Because of their sour pucker, I concluded they'd be great with a dose of sugar in a macerated berry dessert, preserved in a jam, or strained, sweetened, and frozen for the ultimate Summer sorbet.

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Since tayberries are scarce with a short-lived season, if you see these at a farmers market, succumb to your curiosity and bring a carton home! Have you ever tried these berries? What did you do with them?

Photos: Susannah Chen
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