If you haven’t noticed, olallieberries are kind of a big deal around here. If you’ve never heard of this berry, you are in for a treat. We’ve developed this guide about Cambria’s favorite fruit so that you can become an olallieberry expert by the time you visit. (Warning: you may salivate while reading.)
The California Central Coast has had a fascination (or obsession, if you will) with olallieberries over the last 70 years. It has to do with its unique taste and endless possibilities in recipes using this blackberry derivative that thrives next to Cambria’s vineyards.
In honor of Cambria’s favorite fruit, you are now a student in Olallieberries 101: A Beginner’s Guide. Don’t worry, there are no quizzes in this class—just fun facts about the tart berry that we all love!
What Is an Olallieberry?
The olallieberry is a dark-colored, shiny, juicy berry that closely resembles a blackberry. That’s because it is a descendant of the common blackberry, genetically combined with other delicious berries. The flavor is tart but balanced, with enough sweetness to enhance baked goods and soften savory selections.
Why Is It Called 'Olallieberry' & How Do You Pronounce It?
The “olallie” part of “olallieberry” is the Chinook Jargon word for “berry.”
The Chinook Jargon is a historical trade language descended from the Native American Chinook tribes, along with elements of French and English. It was used by Native Americans and Western traders & settlers in the Pacific Northwest. There is also a lake in Oregon called Olallie Lake.
In Cambria and the Central Coast, “olallieberry” is commonly pronounced by locals and visitors as “oh-LAH-le BEHR-ee.”
How Was the Olallieberry Discovered & Who Created It?
The first known olallieberry was created at Oregon State University by the U.S. Department of Agriculture in the 1930s. Their cooperative blackberry breeding program created the olallieberry by combining the black loganberry and the youngberry.
Genetically, the olallieberry is a hybrid of the blackberry, the dewberry, and the raspberry.
How Are Olallieberries Grown?
The olallieberry is intentionally planted and harvested here in Cambria, but also grows naturally along the U.S. Pacific Ocean coastline. The olallieberry loves the temperate weather of the California Central Coast, similar in climate to the Oregon coast near where it was created.
The olallieberry doesn’t share the popularity of its blackberry and raspberry cousins. However, it has gained in popularity here on the Coast thanks to generations of Cambria residents like the Linn family.
Olallieberry Pie & Other Foods
The Linns grow and harvest olallieberries as their primary fruit. They use the berries to make their famous fresh-baked olallieberry pies and dishes for their Cambria eatery, Linn’s Restaurant.
The olallieberry pie is so iconic, many say that you haven’t been to Cambria if you haven’t tried it. It’s certainly one of the most memorable moments to have in Cambria!
The Linns also use the berries in their “More Fruit–Less Sugar” olallieberry preserves and other products at Linn’s Farm Store. Some other olallieberry products include:
- And more!
The Linns aren’t the only olallieberry fans—you can find olallieberry recipes at restaurants all over Cambria!
Food at Olallieberry Inn
Olallieberries are so much a part of Cambria’s DNA that there is even a bed & breakfast named after it—the Olallieberry Inn.
At this bed & breakfast, you may be greeted with olallieberry tea, olallieberry yogurt, and gluten-free olallieberry breakfasts, among other delectable treats.
Where to Buy Olallieberries & Olallieberry Products
Olallieberries can be bought in-season (early summer) at:
Olallieberry products (Hint: they make great gifts!) can be purchased at several eateries and grocery stores in Cambria. Hoping for a taste of Cambria from afar? Head to the Linn’s Fruit Bin website and check out what you can order to be delivered.
There are so many delicious ways to use olallieberries in the kitchen—here are just a few recipes to get you started.
Bake your own olallieberry treats with this classic Olallieberry Inn recipe! Pick up a 10-ounce jar of olallieberry jam or pie filling and follow this recipe for scrumptious olallieberry bars.
Olallieberry Bar Ingredients
- 1 cup butter
- 1 cup packed brown sugar
- 1 1/2 cups flour
- 1 1/2 cups rolled oats
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup chopped walnuts
- 1 (10 oz.) jar olallieberry jam or pie filling
- Powdered sugar, for garnish
Olallieberry Bar Directions
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- Melt the butter in a saucepan and remove it from heat.
- Stir brown sugar into the saucepan until dissolved.
- Cool the butter-sugar mixture to room temperature.
- While the butter-sugar mix is cooling, combine the flour, oats, baking soda, and salt in a bowl and mix well.
- Mix the nuts into the bowl.
- Add the butter-sugar mix into the bowl.
- Set aside 1 cup of the combined mixture to be used as a topping.
- Press the remaining mixture into a greased 9″x13″ baking pan.
- Spread with the olallieberry jam or pie filling
- Sprinkle the remaining flour/oat/nut mixture over the top.
- Bake it for 30 minutes.
- Cool the cooked mix on a wire rack.
- Cut the mix into bars.
- Serve with a sprinkle of powdered sugar and enjoy!
Olallieberry Thyme Vodka Lemonade
Olallieberries are a delicious addition to your favorite craft cocktail. This recipe by Hello Ivy & Eve for a sweet, fruity vodka lemonade is made even more appealing because of its beautiful color. Omit the vodka and add sparkling water for a kid-friendly spritzer! (Note: this recipe makes one jug of lemonade and one cocktail.)
- 1 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice (5 to 6 lemons)
- 1 cup superfine sugar (or to taste)
- 1 cup crushed ice
- 3 cups water
- Remove all seeds from the lemon juice but leave the pulp.
- Place all of the ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.
- Lemonade (see recipe above)
- 5 olallieberries
- 5 oz vodka
- 2 thyme sprigs
- Place 3 large olallieberries in a tall glass.
- Muddle with a wooden muddler (or a fork).
- Add 1.5 oz (1 shot) vodka to the glass and stir.
- Fill the glass with ice cubes.
- Top with lemonade.
- Hold the thyme sprigs in your hands and clap your hands together to bring out the aroma.
- Garnish with a slice of lemon, two olallieberries, and the smacked thyme. Enjoy!
If you have just a little bit of olallieberry preserves left at the bottom of the jar that you can’t stand to throw away, use it to make this tasty salad dressing. This recipe also works with other preserves—try some of Linn’s other crowd-pleasers!
Olallieberry Vinaigrette Ingredients
- 1 heaping tablespoon olallieberry jam or preserves
- 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
- Juice of half a lemon
- 2 teaspoons Dijon or spicy mustard
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Olallieberry Vinaigrette Directions
- Combine all ingredients in the almost-empty jar of preserves.
- Shake until combined.
- Pour over salad and enjoy!