Minnesota has been experiencing a successful berry season

Jul 25th, 2017

Southern Minnesota may be finishing up berry season 2017, but Central and Northern Minnesota are still prospering with blueberries and raspberries to pick.

Dan Whitcomb from JQ Fruit Farm in Princeton said, “Fruits purchased from a local producer are going to be much fresher and last much longer than those shipped from afar. They are often picked day of purchase and are hand harvested. This could extend your storage and use of berries by days or weeks! You will always find higher quality fruit when purchasing from a local grower.”

When picking raspberries, grasp the berry gently between your thumb and finger and pull downward. If the berry is fully ripe it will fall easily into your hand using this method. If the berry does not detach easily, it is not yet ripe. Remember, raspberries do not continue to ripen after picking. Choose only those that are fully red. Place in shallow containers and refrigerate as soon as possible.

Use a similar technique to pick blueberries by rolling the berry between your thumb and palm. A ripe berry will fall off the stem easily and into your hand. Blueberries will not continue to ripen after being picked so avoid the green or white ones. Do not wash the berries until they are ready to be processed. Blueberries may be picked and placed in deep containers for storage. They will keep in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.

“Picking berries is a great family activity,” said Brozek. “Remember to dress comfortably for the weather and wear sunscreen.” Growers also recommend calling ahead or checking the Facebook page of your local strawberry farm for availability, hours of operation, and prime picking times.

The Minnesota Grown directory includes 80 strawberry farms, 31 blueberry farms, and 41 summer raspberry farms, along with apple orchards, farmers markets, garden centers, and other places to buy directly from farmers. Search the directory by region or product to find a berry farm in your area. Order a free printed copy of the directory online or by calling 651-201-6469.