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What's in season in December 2021, and
other timely information:
Notes for December 2021: Autumn is upon us and that means
you'd better hurry to get blueberries and peaches; apples are already in full swing. Some crops continue until
frost, like raspberries, blackberries, figs, corn and tomatoes.
Check your area's crop calendar (see this page) and call your local farms for
seasonal specific updates.
See these pages to find a local
and other festivals.
We have a guide to apple varieties and a guide to peach varieties. Also recipes, canning and freezing directions for
See our comprehensive list of
home canning, jam and jelly
making, preserving, drying and freezing directions. You can access
recipes and other resources from the drop down menus at the top of the page or the site search.
If you have any questions or suggestions,
feel free to write me! It is easy to
make your own ice cream,
even gelato, or low fat or low sugar ice cream - see this page. Also note,
there are many copycat website listing U-pick farms now. They have all
copied their information from here and usually do not ever update. Since
2002, I've been updating the information every day but Christmas; so if you see
anything wrong or outdated, please
Raspberry Facts and Picking Tips
Raspberry Facts and Picking Tips
Raspberries can produce an early summer crop or a late summer and Fall
the U.S. Spring / Summer raspberries (called florocanes) typically peak during June in the South, and in July in
the North. The primocane varieties, which produce raspberries on shoots that
come up each Spring are typically read from August until frost.
In addition to the variety a farm plants, the berries are ready at various times depending
the local climate, such as which part of the state you are located.
See this page for a list of
raspberry festivals around the U.S.
And for those of you from the upper midwest through the west and up
to Canada, if you are interested in
Thimbleberries, see this
Raspberries are a very healthy food;
packed with anthocyanins!
Raspberries contain more vitamin C than oranges, are super high in fibre,
lhave a good amount of folic acid, are high in potassium, vitamin A and
- The USDA says 1 cup of raspberries has about 62 calories.
- 11 cup of raspberries, not packed down weighs about 140 grams.
An average raspberry has 100 to 120 seeds.
Select plump, firm, fully raspberries. Unripe berries will not
ripen once picked.
Raspberries belong to a large group of fruits known as brambles, such as
blackberries, in the plant genus Rubus.
Raspberries come in red, yellow, orange, purple and black colors.
Yellow raspberries are red raspberries that don't make red pigment.)
In most areas, raspberries begin to bloom in late May or early June.
Bumblebees, honeybees, and other wild bees love to visit brambles.
- 60-70 pints of fruits can be
harvested from 100 feet row.
Raspberries can be harvested from early
summer through fall, usually right up until a freeze
- The United States is the world's third-largest
producer of raspberries (FAOSTAT, 2013).
- Production occurs across
much of the country, although most of it is concentrated in California,
Oregon and Washington. California leads the nation in both black and red
raspberry production (NASS, 2015).
- According to the most recent Census of Agriculture, the United States
has 8,052 raspberry farms totaling 23,104 acres (Census of Ag, USDA, 2012).
- U-pick raspberry farms typically sell berries by the pound. A quart
equals 1 and 1/4 pounds of fresh berries.
- Do the math and be careful not to over-purchase as raspberries quickly
mold when left at room temperature, and only last a couple of days in the
- You can easily freeze berries that you cannot use right away - just
wash, cut the hulls off and pop them into a ziplock bag, removing as much
air as possible. Those vacuum food sealers REALLY do a good job of this!
The berries will keep for many months frozen without air.
- Want to go to a raspberry festival?
See this page for a list!
Before you leave to go to the farm:
Always call before you go to the farm - And when they are in season, a large
turnout can pick a field clean before noon, so CALL first!
early. On weekends, then fields may be picked clean by NOON!
Most growers furnish picking containers designed for raspberries, but they
may charge you for them; be sure to call before you go to see if you need to
If you use your own containers, remember that heaping raspberries more than
5 inches deep will bruise the lower berries.
Plastic dishpans, metal oven pans with 3 inch tall sides and large
pots make good containers. I like the Glad storage containers like the one
something to drink and a few snacks; you'd be surprised how you can work up
a thirst and appetite! And don't forget hats and sunscreen for the sun. Bugs
usually aren't a problem, but some deet might be good to bring along if it
has been rainy.
Tips on how to pick raspberries
Raspberry bushes don't have thorns, but they are a pick prickly, so if you
want to hold the stem while picking, a pair of lightweight gloves is
- A ripe raspberry is deep color with a
plump, soft but firm feel. It will pull free from the plant with only a slight tug. The
center will remain on the plant. Keep in mind, raspberries come in many
colors: red, yellow, black, purple, so you want to pick the darker shade of
whichever it is.
- Pick only the berries that are fully ripe. Reach in between the stems to
grab for hidden berries ready for harvest. Bend down and look up into the
plant and you'll find loads of berries that other people missed!
- I find it helps to hold the stem with one hand, while picking with the
- Repeat these
operations using both hands until each holds 3 or 4 berries. Repeat the picking process with both hands.
- Don't overfill
your containers or try to pack the berries down. Ideally, the collection
containers should be wide so the pberries aren't more than a few deep.
- Pick berries into a shallow container. If they get piled too
deep they'll crush each other.
Avoid placing the picked berries in the sunlight any longer than necessary.
It is better to put them in the shade of a tree or shed than in the car
trunk or on the car seat. Cool them as soon as possible after picking.
When you get home
wash the berries until you are ready to use them or freeze them. Washing
makes them more prone to spoiling.
DO refrigerate! Right after picking, place raspberries in
the fridge. If your fridge tends to dry out produce, lightly cover the
Raspberries don't store for very long, usually just a few days. The reason
the ones from the grocery store last longer is they are covered with
- Pour them out into shallow pans and remove any mushed, soft or rotting
- Put a couple of days supply into the fridge, wash off the others, drain
them and freeze them up! (Unless you're going to make jam right away)
raspberries are less perishable than blueberries or strawberries, but
refrigerate them as soon as possible after picking. Temperatures between 34
F and 38 F are best, but, be careful not to freeze the raspberries (while
they are in the fridge)!
- Even under ideal conditions raspberries will only keep for a week in a
refrigerator, so for best flavor and texture, use them as soon as possible
- See this page for
illustrated freezing instructions.
- Now, get ready to make raspberry jam - It is VERY easy - especially
with our free
directions - very easy! or for a jam with a little kick, try
- And if you want to freeze them to use later, see my
How to freeze berries
- You can also make your own
- See this page for an easy recipe to make
Frequently Asked Questions and Answers About raspberries
- How to freeze raspberries?
Just rinse them in cold
water. I use a large bowl filled with water, pour the berries in, and
gently stir them with my fingers to dislodge any dirt or bugs. Then using
my fingers like a sieve, I scoop the raspberries out of the water, and put
them in a drainer to let the water drain off. Then I just pour the berries
into a ziploc bags or vacuum sealer bags and pop them in the freezer. After
they are frozen, I remove as much air from the bag as possible and seal the
See this page for
illustrated freezing instructions.
- I have picked my raspberries and have seen little worms. Not sure if
these are fruit flies that have laid eggs in them - or if they are grubs. I
picked some out than froze the berries. I have heard that cold will kill
them or drawn them out. If I make jam the cooked way (not freezer jam) and
some of the grubs/worms are left will it hurt people? I would like to
believe I got them all but fear I did not.
Answer: That sounds like SWD, spotted wing drosophila, the grub or larval form
of a fly. Typically, they are about 1/4-inch long. Soaking for an hour or
more in salt water (1 cup of slat to the gallon), may help draw them out. Cold would
probably kill them, but leave them inside the fruit. I don't imagine
they would be harmful if cooked into jam... but I doubt anyone would ask for
seconds if they found one. Eeeewwwwww!
See this page about Spotted Wind Drosophila,
identification and controls
Other Related Information:
US Agricultural Census
University of Minnesota Extension
University of Illinois Extension
USDA Ag census Fruits, Tree Nuts, and Berries
USDA - search USDA raspberries
NC State University Extension
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