Loving Raspberries, from the Midwest to the Northwest
Up until two weeks ago I had described myself as a Midwesterner through and through. I’ve spent the majority of my life in Minnesota, and while I love my home state, I felt it was time for a change of pace after finishing my time at college. Luckily, I found an excellent opportunity with Red Dog Farm to work with the field crew, and so far it has truly been a blast. There’s been so much to learn and a crew of fun and hardworking people, and while I do think I am getting the hang of things, you never really stop learning. Naturally, I’ve missed aspects of Minnesota and my community there during this transition. However, one thing I haven’t missed is raspberries, and we grow a lot of them.
In Minnesota, raspberries are a sign that summer has truly arrived. After months of weather below freezing and nothing green in sight, bright red raspberries seem as precious as jewels. They are also delicious, both as a kid and now as an adult. I have especially fond memories of a dear neighbor who gifted my family with a raspberry bush that we transplanted into our garden. The raspberries were white in color, and tasted less tart then a normal berry. They were a precious gift both for their special appearance and the joy they brought upon harvest.
Like so many aspects of farming, picking raspberries is a skill that has opportunity for growth. I thought I knew a thing or two about raspberry picking, mostly due to my ‘field experience’ in the backyard growing up. That said, I’ve gleaned some new information about when a raspberry is ready to eat. I had been picking raspberries based on their color, but I now know to also focus on how easily the raspberry comes off from the plant into your hand. Does the berry want to be picked? If it’s stubborn and stays attached to the stem, it may need more time even if it is red in color. I’ve enjoyed ‘dialing’ into this harvesting method, as the farm hands call it when someone becomes more comfortable with a particular harvest.
It’s been nice having such a welcoming farm and town community to be a part of, beautiful scenery to enchant me, and delicious red raspberries to remind me of home.