2014-07-17 / From The Garden

Raving About Raspberries

By Cynthia Gibson


Raspberries are usually thought of as red fruits but actually come in a range of colors. Raspberries are usually thought of as red fruits but actually come in a range of colors. Truth be known, raspberries are among the finest crops we look forward to bringing in each summer in addition to island corn. Those luscious red drupelets are filled with just the right amount of sweetness and tartness. It is almost the beginning of pick-your-own raspberry season. Call or check the website of your favorite farm before your taste buds get out of control with cravings.

The current crop is known as summer raspberries; at the farms you will most likely find "Prelude," "Lauren," or "Heritage" varieties. They are also easy to grow in your garden, only needing a bit of feeding and pruning, and you can then have berries in your backyard within a year of planting. Some of the most flavorful raspberries you can grow are "Caroline," "Encore," "Octavia," and "Nova."

Summer raspberries are known as floricane raspberries, while the fall varieties are primocanes. Floricane raspberries only produce fruit from second-year canes or wood. This means you do not prune floricanes the first year. Yet, primocane or fall-bearing raspberries need pruning each year. Primocanes start cropping in August and are huge. For seamless picking, farms will plant both floricane and primocane varieties.


Cynthia Gibson is a gardener, food writer and painter. She gardens and tends her miniature orchard in Newport. Cynthia Gibson is a gardener, food writer and painter. She gardens and tends her miniature orchard in Newport. Yellow or golden raspberries have a distinctive hint of honey in their flavor. The best varieties of yellow raspberries are; "Anne," "Kiwi-Gold," and "Fall Gold." Black raspberries do not have the true flavor of raspberry. They are beautiful to see on the vine, but when you take that first bite, you realize this is a special berry with its very own flavor. The finest black raspberries to grow are "Jewel," "Bristol," and "BlackMac."

Popping freshly-picked raspberries into your mouth and eating them au natural is one of the classic tastes of summer. In addition to making your own homemade raspberry sorbet or ice cream, there is a plethora of magnificent desserts to tempt the palates of family and friends. The accompanying recipe will earn the adulation of your guests.

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