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Publication of the Northern New York Agricultural Development Program.

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I love berries … all kinds of berries. When I was a child, I knew every berry patch or vine or tree and when they would ripen. My summer was a grazing progression from one fruit or berry to the next, starting with wild strawberries, red and black raspberries, blueberries, mulberries, sour cherries, then peaches, grapes and pears.

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Raspberries in high tunnel“Raspberries are one of the more challenging crops I deal with,” says Maine’s vegetable and small fruit specialist David Handley. “I have more people get started in and get out of raspberries than any other crop I deal with.”

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Massachusetts grower William Hamilton grows many varieties of raspberries, including a tender variety called 'Tulameen.' Left in cold storage over the winter and set out in the spring in containers, this variety produces quality fruit and fetches a high price, according to an article in Innovations in Sustainable Agriculture.

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Tom Hoerth of Bath ate a handful of raspberries, “big, full, really nice berries.” Locally grown berries … Maine berries … on the 27th of March this year! Hoerth says that he still has to pinch himself to believe that he has 1800 raspberry plants going in his greenhouse, located in Wiscasset, and that he can make good money ($9/pint) from them. Here’s how he does it.

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Raspberries should be pruned every year. The bulk of the pruning should be done during the late winter or early spring. Some growers remove the fruiting (two-year-old) canes shortly after harvest to encourage growth of the new canes, which will fruit next season. However, recent research has suggested that it is better to leave the old canes until late in the fall or winter, because they provide carbohydrates to the crown of the plant that will be used by the new canes.

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Raspberries are the most commonly grown bramble in the home garden. For those preparing to make the leap out of the tomato patch and go beyond cucumbers, raspberries are an easy choice: You can be eating freshly picked berries in just a few years.

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