Nothing says summer like berry-picking. I visited farms throughout northwest Indiana and Michigan, picking (and tasting) the freshest strawberries, raspberries and blueberries. This post is devoted to raspberries.
If you are looking to find a wide variety of u-pick fruit, The Extraordinary Berry in Benton Harbor, Michigan is the place to be come mid-summer. The farm sells small baskets of fresh-picked fruits, but customers may also pick in-season items off the vine themselves.
Last summer my family and I visited this same farm in search of juicy berries and a great experience. We picked red raspberries and blackberries then, but this year we tried red and gold raspberries; the blackberries were still ripening, unfortunately.
Blackberries differ from red, black and gold raspberries. They are bigger, juicier and sweeter at their ripest.
Raspberries, like strawberries, are tricky to pick.
The red and gold raspberry bushes grow to about waist-height, but much of the fruit is lower, hiding underneath dense leaves.
Blackberries (at least at The Extraordinary Berry) grow on taller, vine-like bushes and are easier to pick. They are also bigger in size and much sturdier. You have to be careful, though, as blackberry bushes have thorns. For proper picking technique, wrap two fingers around the stem and gently pull.
After collecting three baskets of red raspberries, we moved to the gold. These are more difficult to spot on the bushes and less acidic than their red counterparts. They were also tougher and sturdier on the vine. Having taste-tested a few gold raspberries, we decided the red ones would do for this trip.
We will return for those blackberries, though!