WHAT ARE RASPBERRIES?
Raspberries are a perennial bush-type plant that produces fruit
on woody stems or canes. The fruit may be red, yellow, black or
purple, but only the red raspberry is important in BC and world-wide
it is the most popular form.
Raspberries are an aggregate fruit. Each raspberry is a fruit
cluster with many bead-like fruits called druplets clustered around
a core or receptacle. Each druplet contains one seed and a well
developed berry generally has 100 to 120 seeds. When the berry is
picked the receptacle remains on the bush and the berry resembles a
WHERE ARE RASPBERRIES PRODUCED IN BC?
The crop can be grown in all but the very harshest parts of the
province, but over 98% of the raspberries are produced near
Abbotsford in the Central Fraser Valley. Minor centres of production
are the Salmon Arm/North Okanagan area and southeastern Vancouver
Raspberries are a temperate season crop that do not do well under
very cold winters or hot summers. The plants are very susceptible to
root rots, and thus, are usually grown on sandy, well drained soils.
HOW MANY RASPBERRIES DO WE PRODUCE?
BC's raspberry production varies depending on winter injury,
growing conditions and acreage planted. In the last few years
production as been as high as 20 million kg and as low as 11 million
kg. This quantity of fruit would equate to about 650 to 1100
semi-trailer truckloads of fruit.
HOW ARE RASPBERRIES PRODUCED?
There are two types of red raspberries -- summer fruiting, the
most common, and autumn fruiting or primocane fruiting, which are
used for extending the fresh marketing season. The summer fruiting
raspberries do not produce fruit in the first year. This is because
the fruit is produced on side branches or laterals on one-year old
canes. After fruiting the cane dies to the soil level.
Raspberries are planted in rows about 3 metres apart and they
form solid hedges. The canes produce so heavily that they must be
supported and held in an upright position by a trellis system of
posts and wires. The flowers appear from late May to early July.
They must be pollinated by bumble bees and other wild bees. If there
are insufficient wild pollinators, hives of honey bees are rented
and moved into the fields to ensure good pollination. Repeated bee
visits produce more and larger berries. About 60% of BC's
raspberries are harvested mechanically over a six-to-eight week
period from late June to mid-August. All fresh market berries and
the remainder of the processed berries are hand picked.
After harvest or during winter, the canes that produced the fruit
are cut off at the soil and the new replacement canes that grew from
the roots are tied to the wires and topped in preparation for the
next growing season.
The primocane type of raspberry is one that will also produce
fruit on the tips of the new canes (primocanes) each summer. Recent
development of improved varieties has resulted in primocane
varieties that will start producing fruit during August and continue
until fall rains or frost curtails production. This may be as late
as late October in some years.
WHAT DOES A RASPBERRY LOOK LIKE WHEN I USE IT?
Approximately 90% of the raspberries grown are processed and
consumed as jam, juice, yogurt flavouring, whole frozen berries,
etc., and about 10% are eaten fresh.
WHAT HAPPENS AFTER THE RASPBERRIES LEAVE THE FARM?
The bulk of the berries are delivered to one of a dozen different
processing facilities located in the Central Fraser Valley. Here the
fruit is vacuumed and washed prior to being passed down an
inspection belt, packaged and frozen. BC berries are shipped to
Eastern Canada or to buyers across the United States for
manufacturing into jam, yogurt flavouring or other products. Fresh
market fruit, after cooling, is repackaged and inspected prior to
being shipped in refrigerated trucks or in air cargo containers to
major markets across Canada and the U.S. Depending on currency
exchange rates plus international supply and price factors, some
fresh and/or processed raspberries are sold to overseas markets.
WHAT CHALLENGES DOES THE RASPBERRY PRODUCER FACE?
Winter injury, root rots and the availability of suitable soil
are all major factors limiting local production. Growers have faced
this challenge by gradually concentrating production in the sandy,
well drained soils in the Central Fraser Valley. The availability of
thousands of people for hand picking the crop was a major constraint
in the past, but by the late 1980s the problem was largely solved by
the development and refinement of several makes of mechanical
WHO'S INVOLVED IN PRODUCING RASPBERRIES?
- Raspberry producer
- Field workers
- Processing plant workers
- Farm machinery suppliers
- Fertilizer and pesticide suppliers
- Sugar and packaging materials manufacturers
1 cup raspberries (125g)
||Calories from Fat 0
||% Daily Value*
|Total Fat 0g
|Saturated Fat 0g
|Total Carbohydrate 17g
|Dietary Fibre 8g
|Vitamin A 0%
||Vitamin C 40%
|*Percent Daily Values are based
on a 2,000-calorie diet.
Interesting Fact About Raspberries:
Although raspberries can be grown in all of the Canadian
provinces, BC accounts for almost the entire annual Canadian
production of raspberries.
- Contacts and other resources:
- BCMAL -
- BC Raspberry Growers' Association
- Raspberry Industry
- Washington Red Raspberry Commission