The raspberry season has begun. As usual it starts small and slowly builds until my life is consumed by red raspberries for about 6 weeks.
Today I picked 1/2 pint, tomorrow it will likely be 3x that amount and by this time next week I should be harvesting about 10 to 20 1/2 pints a day. By the end of the month it will be about 50 1/2 pints a day. Maybe more as the plants are a lot bigger this year and are loaded with berries that undoubtedly will get big because now that spring is just about over we have lots and lots of rain, which the berries need in abundance to be big and sweet.
I took this photo in early May. At this point the canes were about the same height as they were last year. Since than they have put on an addition 2 feet of height and back towards the middle (where they already had started to lean into the aisle way) the canes have pretty much collapsed for about 25 feet. I have tied them up with bailing twine but it is still a mess back in there and will be a bitch to harvest but by no means impossible. And hey, they are thornless canes so no biggie.
I have been amazed at the variety of pollenators on these plants. Every kind of bee we have around here (at least 10 species) has been busy collecting nectar and pollen along with various moths and butterflies. I have noticed that the squash vine borers love the raspberry flowers and seem to get drunk on the nectar making them very easy to grab and squish. Normally it is hard to catch these moths as they are very fast and agile. This is something I really love about harvesting raspberries is watching all the activity in the canes. Spiders, daddy Long legs, flies, plant pests, preying mantids, wheel bugs, bees, moths, butterflies all either live there or come by to visit. I find evidence of great drama that has happened in the raspberry world. Husks of bug and spider bodies, a Daddy long legs sucking a plant bug dry (okay on that one I got to witness the drama), wheel bugs lying in wait for their next victim. For a bug nerd such as myself it is a fascinating world.
We have a small amount available at the store today and certainly will have a nice amount for the Saturday farmers Market in Oxford. The farm share members will start to see the raspberries in their shares starting next week.
What doesn't sell will either be made into raspberry jam (which will be available at the store eventually) or frozen for later use-mainly frozen rum drinks and yogurt smoothies.