blackRasperryPint_lMy black raspberry is producing now. The berries keep getting bigger and better every year. Perhaps that’s the advantage of a perennial–every year the root system gets bigger and I get more and better berries. This year’s berries are melt-in-your-mouth sweet and juicy. The berry quality seems to come, too, from my learning to be patient, waiting just a few extra days for the berries to be ripe instead of picking them just a little too early. This is part of the art of being a farmer, knowing when to harvest. It’s one of the hardest things for me to learn. That and being patient.

This year also promises to be a record-setting level of production. Last year I set a record of 24 pints of berries from my vine. This year, I’m already at 22 pints, with lots of berries still ripening on the vine. Last night I set a one-night record, picking 10 pints (see picture). So, this year, I’m freezing some in addition to consuming them fresh and giving them away. blackRasberry10pints_l

These berries provide me a reminder each year of why I garden. No matter how much money you have, you simply can’t find berries like these at the supermarket. You might come close at a farmers’ market, but this quality of berry would sell for about $8/pint at my local farmers market. Last night’s harvest would be $80. Why pay that premium price for them when I can just go outside and pick them off the vine?

June 18 update: It’s been a busy couple of weeks. Since this original post, I’ve spent a lot of time harvesting my berries. I had another 10-pint night and my total yield this year is now 48 pints, double last years harvest. The harvest is winding down, but I still see enough ripening berries that I expect to get at least another four pints. In addition to freezing, I now have instructions for making a black raspberry liquor, so this morning I started my first experiment with that. More on that later, I’m sure. 😉

August 21 update: The harvest is over and I’m cutting back the canes from this year’s berries. The canes for next year’s berries are already growing out like crazy–I probably have 20 feet of vines already. My total harvest for the year was a whopping 54 pints. I like growing berries! Next year I’ll have even more berries, as I have three new raspberry plants and six new blueberry plants. They should all produce well next year. Fortunately, they all produce at different times, so I’ll have berries for months at a time.