Updated by: Gina Marzolo, graduate student of Agricultural Sciences, California State Polytechnic University, Pomona, email@example.com, July 2015.
The United States is the world’s third-largest producer of raspberries (FAOSTAT, 2013). Raspberries are mostly grown as red (Rubus idaeus) and, black (Rubus occidentalis) varieties. However, there are also purple varieties (a cross between red and black raspberries) and yellow varieties (a mutation of red or black raspberries) (Penn State - Extension, 2014).
Production occurs across much of the country, although most of it is concentrated in California, Oregon and Washington. California leads the nation in both black and red raspberry production (NASS, 2015).
In 2014, California’s fresh-market black raspberries were valued at $6.5 million ($1.60/pound), and processed black raspberries were valued at $348,000 ($1.74/pound).
Oregon’s fresh-market black raspberries were valued at $606,000 ($2.09/pound). Processed black raspberries were valued at $9.1 million ($2.65/pound).
Washington’s fresh-market black raspberries were valued at $91,000 ($2.28 dollars/pound). Processed black raspberries were valued at $146,000 ($0.86 dollars/pound) (NASS, 2015).
California’s fresh-market red raspberries were valued at $267 million ($3.26/pound). Processed red raspberries were valued at $37.5 million ($2.60/pound).
Oregon’s fresh-market red raspberries were valued at $1.2 million ($2.11/pound). Processed red raspberries were valued at $4.6 million ($1.19/pound).
Washington’s fresh market red raspberries were valued at $1.87 million ($2.08/pound). Processed red raspberries were valued at $59 million ($0.83/pound) (NASS, 2015).
Once picked, fresh raspberries do not have a very long shelf life. For this reason, selling them locally can add value. There are many ways in which this can be achieved. A lot of farms utilize a U-pick system or sell directly outside their farm using a farm stand. Many restaurants are eager to use local and organic produce, which could be another option for the fresh market sale of raspberries. One could also sell at nearby certified farmers’ markets.
Both red and black raspberries are used tremendously towards processed goods (juices, preserves, frozen items, dessert wines, oils, lotions, etc.). One way to get added value to your processed raspberries is to be selective about which raspberries you process. Fall-bearing varieties can produce twice each year, once in the fall, usually producing a larger crop, and once in the summer. Depending on the market price for fresh and processed raspberries, one crop can be sold to the fresh market, while the other can be processed. Another way to add value when processing would be to use fruits that are not deemed aesthetic enough for the fresh market (Penn State - Extension, 2014).
According to the most recent Census of Agriculture, the United States has 8,052 raspberry farms totaling 23,104 acres (Census of Ag, USDA, 2012).
In 2014, California, Oregon and Washington produced a combined total of 8.28 million pounds of black raspberries (4.43 million pounds went to the fresh market, and 3.81 million pounds were processed). Also in 2014, the same three states produced a combined total of 173.86 million pounds of red raspberries (83.49 million pounds went to the fresh market, and 89.19 million pounds were processed)(NASS, 2015).
In 2014, the U.S. exported a total of 57.6 million pounds of fresh raspberries valued at $175 million. The United States mainly exports fresh raspberries to Canada, at about 90 percent of the total (ERS, 2015).
To meet consumer demand, the United States imports raspberries. From October through May, most imports originate from Mexico at about 96 percent. In 2014, the United States imported a total of almost 96.8 million pounds of fresh raspberries from Mexico, Canada and Chile, valued at $1 million.
There are two fruiting growth habits for raspberry plants; Fall-bearing varieties (primocane) and summer-bearing varieties (floricane). Fall-bearing varieties produce fruit in their first year starting in late August until the first strong frost. A small summer crop can be produced from fall-bearing varieties if the canes are not removed after winter. Summer-bearing varieties produce fruit in their second year of growth with most fruit ready to harvest around mid-summer (Penn State - Extension, 2014).
A goal of farmers has been to extend the growing season of berries while keeping costs low. This can be achieved with high tunnel production. High tunnels are large hoop houses covered in plastic that cost a fraction of greenhouse production. The implementation of high tunnels allows for a longer season with floricane varieties producing fruit as early as May and primocane varieties continuing to produce fruit into November. Berries receive a premium price early and late in the season, therefore an extended season allows farmers to acquire a bigger market share (Cornell University, 2012).
Helpful enterprise budgets for raspberries:
Census of Agriculture, United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), 2012.
Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations Statistics Division (FAOSTAT), 2013. Click Item as Raspberries, Area as United States and From Year 2013 To Year 2013.
Fruit and Tree Nut Data - Exports/Imports, Economic Research Service (ERS), USDA, 2015.
High Tunnel Raspberries and Blackberries, Cornell University, Department of Horticulture Publication No.47, 2012.
Noncitrus Fruits & Nuts, National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS), USDA, 2015.
Red Raspberry Production, Pennsylvania State University - Extension, 2014.
- Berries, Cornell University. This website provides links to berry resources covering all aspects of organic and traditional production and marketing commercially and locally.
- Driscoll’s Berries - 100-plus year old California company.
- Washington Red Raspberry Commission – establishes promotion plans and conducts programs for advertising, sales, promotion, and/or other programs for maintaining present markets and/or creating new or larger markets for raspberries.
- Planeview Enterprises, Jefferson, Iowa, 2005 - This diversified, value-added agricultural company has three separate businesses: raspberries, Berkshire hogs and consulting services. Proprietors of the Central Iowa company are Larry and Pam Thomsen.
Links checked July 2015.