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Red Raspberry Production
Raspberries are a small-fruit crop that lend themselves well to small-scale and part-time farming operations. Initial investment is high, but is primarily related to the cost of land preparation, planting, and installation of a trellis and irrigation system. Also, equipment needs on a small-acreage farm are not very great. Raspberry plantingsshould fruit for at least six years, and some produce for more than 20 years. Increasing demand for raspberries has kept fresh-market prices relatively stable in recent years. Growing raspberries is not for everyone, however, as they have special production requirements, as well as a very short shelf life and marketing season. Raspberries come in two basic types: red and black. Yellow raspberriesare a mutation of red or black raspberries, and purple raspberries are a cross between red and black raspberries. Red raspberries have chilling requirements that limit their production to cooler regions. It is estimated that about 75 percent of all domestically grown raspberries are of the red variety, and most of these are processed. The leading red raspberry producing states are Washington andOregon, with a combined acreage of more than 12,000 acres. Other states with small plantings include Colorado, Michigan, New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, and parts of New England. Canada is a major producer of red raspberries, with most of the production located in British Columbia and Ontario. Red raspberries also are produced in Europe and the SouthernHemisphere.

Fresh-market raspberries usually are sold in half-pint cartons covered with plastic lids. Six basic marketing alternatives are available to the raspberry grower: wholesale markets, cooperatives, local retailers, roadside stands, pickyour-own operations, and processing firms. Because they are so perishable, red raspberries are well suited toroadside stands and pick-your-own operations. With the wholesale option, either you or a shipper can take your crop to the market. Shippers generally sell and transport the raspberries for a predetermined price. This marketing alternative is subject to the greatest price fluctuations. Marketing cooperatives generally use a daily pooled This publication was developed by the Small-scale and Part-timeFarming Project at Penn State with support from the U.S. Department of Agriculture-Extension Service.

College of Agricultural Sciences Agricultural Research and Cooperative Extension

cost and price, which spreads price fluctuations over all participating producers. Local retailers are another possible market, but you must take the time to contact produce managers and provide good-qualityraspberries when stores require them. Roadside stands (either your own or another grower’s) and pick-your-own operations provide opportunities to receive higher than wholesale prices for your fruit, but you may have some additional expenses for advertising, building and maintaining a facility, and providing service to your customers. With pick-your-own operations, you save on harvest costs, but youmust be willing to accept some waste. Depending on your location, processors may or may not be a marketing option. Processors are less likely to contract with small-acreage growers, and processing prices are much more volatile then fresh-market prices. For more information on marketing, consult Agricultural Alternatives: Fruit and Vegetable Marketing for Small-scale and Part-time Growers. Pricesfor fresh-market red raspberries have been relatively stable in recent years because of increasing demand. Wholesale prices for fresh-market raspberries have ranged from $0.80 to $1.10 per pound, generally about half of the retail price. Demand for processed raspberries also has been strong in recent years, but prices in this market are subject to greater fluctuation. Processing prices in Oregon...