The temperature was forty one last night and is predicted for the high thirties tonight. According to Ozark natives, this cold snap is to be expected. "It almost always gets cold when the blackberries are blooming," they say . That is what's called "Blackberry Winter".
The problem, of course, is that in some years the cool "winter" weather dips below freezing and spells doom for many of the blackberry blooms. Then too, if the blooms make it through the Blackberry Winter, the weather can turn dry and the berry crop will suffer from lack of moisture. Big blackberry crops are quite dependent on the vagaries of weather.
The other major problem is human: folks cleaning up their pastures will "bushog" everything down, including the patches of blackberries.
Here at the Bluff, conditions are good so far. We have a great start with lots of blooms. If the temps stay in the upper thirties at night, we will have passed that hurdle. The neighbor has not mowed his pasture this spring and there are huge patches of berry canes. The weather could cooperate as the canes mature into mid summer. That would mean a huge crop of berries.
Should conditions converge for a good crop, the only remaining detriments to great berry pies and cobblers are ticks and chiggers. They love blackberry patches. You can scratch while you are eating.
If you go berry picking spray yourself well. But if, while speaking to a friend, they comment about how cold it is tonight, just tell them, "It is supposed to be cold; its blackberry winter!"