Picking fresh raspberries is a summer outing to never miss. There are a few things that always make a trip successful no matter where you pick. These Best Raspberry Picking Tips will help make your trip fun and fruitful.
Summertime berry picking is both a fun activity and a delicious one.
The flavor of warmed-by-the-sun, perfectly ripe berries is unforgettable and nothing like berries found in grocery stores.
You’ll find everything here to go raspberry picking like a pro!
Why pick raspberries?
Freshly picked berries do not taste the same as those from the store.
The first noticeable difference is the smell.
Raspberries in particular smell like an intoxicating perfume.
When picking at the farm shown in many of these photos, we marveled at being able to smell the berries through the plastic bag we were using!
The flavor is much more well-rounded, deep and authentic tasting as well.
How to find a Pick Your Own farm?
You can locate U-Pick farms across the U.S. through pickyourown.org.
Local social media will often list farms or picking fields too but it can take some sleuthing.
Many of the photos here are from a random discovery after I stopped to investigate a handmade roadside sign.
Asking at a local Farmer’s Market can help find picking locations too.
If in northern Colorado, Berry Patch Farm in Brighton is a great choice.
How to Know Raspberries are Ripe for Picking
Berries should be picked when they are fully ripe and when they are they roll into your fingers without effort leaving them with a much more soft and gentle texture.
How to pick raspberries
Check for ripeness to ensure the raspberry is plump, deep in color and still slightly firm.
Gently pull on the raspberry. It should easily release from the stem, leaving the stem on the plant.
If it resists it’s probably not fully ripe.
Always check the berries around any you pick. Chances are they are the same maturity and also ready to be picked.
The raspberry plants do have small thorns so be careful when grasping the branches.
Place in shallow, hard containers and do not stack the berries too deep. It’s better to use multiple smaller containers (see below).
Best Raspberry Picking Tips
1. Call or check the website before going
Conditions and hours can change daily at picking farms.
Despite listing being open daily inclement weather or loads of pickers can change picking availability.
Also each farm has their own rules or practices around picking. Be sure to familiarize yourself before picking.
2. Start Early
Picking in the cool of the morning is more pleasant anyway but it’s a way to beat the crowds too.
Farms often designate a limited area for picking or quantity and once that has been met there is no more picking.
Arriving early gives a better chance for a good haul.
3. Bring Containers
Every farm is different and it’s best to check on container availability before you go.
Smaller roadside farms often do not supply them or they are in limited supply.
Save containers from other picking, store bought berries or bring some from home.
The berries are very delicate and do best in a hard container and don’t stack them more than 4-5 inches deep to avoid bruising the berries.
Post picking TIP: Because you are picking berries fully ripe, they need to be used promptly as well.
4. Pay first, eat later.
Farmers know it’s natural to want to sample the berries but this is how they make their (usually meager) living.
If you sample be sure to ‘round up’ on the amount you picked when at a self-pay farm to compensate or better yet wait until you have paid to nibble.
Berries are sold by weight making anything consumed money out of the farmer’s pocket.
5. Don’t step over a row of Raspberry bushes
It’s easy to damage younger plants and even if it seems like you could clear them with no problem, most farms ask you to walk around.
6. Start at the end of a row; look inside and low on the bushes.
Most people begin to pick at the first part of a row and only pick what they see or what is easiest for them.
From years of picking believe me if you go to the opposite end of a row from where people pick, gently look inside the bush and on the lower branches requiring one to bend over, you’ll find a ton of berries in a small area.
7. Bring a hat, water, sunscreen and insect repellent.
You never know what the weather will hold (especially in Colorado).
Always best to travel with all the necessities so your picking can go off without a hitch.
How to store the raspberries
Do not wash them until you want to eat or cook with them. Rinsing and storing them accelerates them going bad.
Store them in the refrigerator in a hard container. This will ensure they have minimal bruising.
Because they are fully ripe when picking, use them within a few days.
Freezing them is another option. This guide is a perfect way to freeze them: best way to freeze berries so you can enjoy them all year long!
Here are just a few recipe ideas to use your berries in addition to eating them fresh and adding them to cereal, smoothies, yogurt and more:
Raspberry Pink Champagne Granita – this elegant looking dessert is a fancy way to chill out in any season. As welcome at a New Year’s Eve party as it is at a summer cookout, it’s a wonderful way to use fresh raspberries with a bit of bubbly too!
Black Raspberry Creme Soft Shell Tart – this dessert is homey, simple and a great way to feature fresh berries. In this case black raspberries are used but red, black or golden really would be delicious.
Rasbperry Pandowdy – the first time I made raspberry pandowdy was after a berry picking trip. It’s a simple, rustic dessert that takes little time but affords a relaxed, comforting dessert to cap off any meal.
Raspberry-Vanilla Double Glazed Sugar Cookies with Sugared Pansies – this pretty dessert is really a store-bought cookie hack. Your favorite sugar cookie and double glazed with a fresh raspberry sauce and adorned with sugared pansies. Feeling lazy? Skip the pansies and just enjoy the fresh raspberry coated cookies.
Chocolate-Stuffed Raspberries – sometimes simple is best. Stuff some of the raspberries with chocolate chips for an easy splurge!
Originally published: July 27, 2017