Picking in our late season red and yellow raspberries resumed Saturday, August 30, but the heavy 3-4" inch storm that passed thru our area Monday night (September 1) apparently brought hail that severely damaged most of the ripe berries. Picking has been suspended once again. For more information see the 2014 crop report below.
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For 2014, I am estimating that the Prelude will start to become available in early August and the Nova may possibly become available in early September. From mid August to late September a fair supply of Fall Gold yellow raspberries may also be available for early customers each day that we are open. Both Red and Yellow raspberry picking will be on a first come basis but customers coming later in the morning can call my cell phone number (See Picking Information Section below). Fall raspberry picking will continue until our first hard frost or the end of October (whichever comes first).
September 2, 2014: A fall raspberry crop may just not be "in the cards" for 2014. Mother nature threw us another curve -- hail damage to the ripe raspberries from a severe 3-4" thunderstorm the night of September 1. We have suspended picking and have not yet decided whether going thru the recovery effort once again is jusified.
August 31, 2014: It took almost three weeks of extra effort removing overripe, sunburned, and SWD infested fruit but the SWD problem appears solved for the time being. The very hot weather the last week or so actually helped since SWD is normally a "costal climate" pest and does not thrive in exessively hot weather. Unfortunately, the hot weather combined with light winds and clear skies did cause some sunburn on berries directly exposed to the sun (red raspberries turn white when sunburned) so customers still need to be selective about the berries that they pick. As is normal, yellow raspberries were more affected by sunburn than red raspberries. Customers (3) who volunteered for test picking red raspberries on Saturday August 30, seemed to find plenty of good berries and were quite satisfied with the picking and fruit quality.
August 12, 2014: I spoke too soon about "insect pests not being a big problem". Spotted Wing Drosophila combined with several days of wet, rainy weather caused major damage to our ripe raspberries. Most ripe berries have turned soft, mushy and developed an off flavor forcing us to shut down picking.
August 3, 2014: With the cooler nights and moderate (for St. Louis) temperatures these last few weeks, the quality of the "fall" 2014 Prelude looks better than the "spring" 2014 crop that suffered some winter injury. We probably have enough berries for only a few customers each day since two underperforming rows of Prelude were eliminated in July and the crop in our two new replacement rows won't be ready for another month. On the plus side, the usual Prelude insect pests have not been a big problem so far.
July 27, 2014: A few ripe Prelude red raspberries have been available for my morning cereal these last few days but not enough to permit customer picking. With the cooler nights and plenty of irrigation berry quality looks great. The two new rows of Prelude planted this spring are slightly behind schedule coupled with the removal of two underperforming older Prelude rows due to crown gall means fall raspberry picking will be fairly steady up to frost without much of a "peak" period. The size on Fall Gold yellow raspberries looks better than what we saw in June but excessive heat and sunlight can cook or bleach out the yellow berries in one, hot afternoon so it is still a little early to forecast our fall yellow raspberry crop.
October 25, 2013: A very heavy frost/freeze last night brought the late raspberry season to an end. Picking was good right up to the end !!
October 3, 2013: Picking on the very late Nova red raspberries is at its peak now !! Some Prelude is still available but customers must pick selectively and avoid overripe berries.
September 15, 2013: The very late Nova red raspberries are finally starting to ripen and are looking good. Prelude is still available but customers must pick selectively and avoid overripe or sun cooked berries. Some yellow raspberries remain but their size is small -- the flavor, however, is exceptionally good now with the cooler nights.
August 27, 2013: Customers had no trouble finding plenty of ripe berries that were not sunburned. Both red and yellow raspberries seemed in good supply.
August 26, 2013: With the very hot weather and lighter winds we have had over the last few days we are starting to see some sunburn (chiefly on the unripe berries just starting to color up). I picked some berries for home use today (Monday) and think we should see some good picking on Tuesday in the leaf canopy where the berries are sheltered and not exposed to direct afternoon sunlight. Ordinarily, we would irrigate overhead intermittently to cool the berries--this is quite effective in preventing sunburn but would further aggravate leaf spot problems we are just now starting to get under control.
August 24, 2013: As expected, our first Saturday picking day was busy and customers did an excellent job of removing most ripe berries which helps with Spotted Wing Drosophila control since SWD is attracted to ripe fruit. Quite a bit of yellow raspberries still remained, however. We will shut down Sunday and Monday to continue our spray schedule and allow more ripening time for the berries.
August 19, 2013: Customer flow was much larger than I expected for our first day of Late Season Raspberry picking so customers coming later in the morning faced more scattered picking conditions than I would prefer. We will shut down picking for Tuesday to allow the berries a chance to ripen up and reopen for picking on Wednesday, Aug 21.
August 18, 2013: The berries that are coloring up now bloomed and formed during the excellent cool, dry weather we have had over the last 3 or 4 weeks so berry size and flavor are very good. Surprisingly, Japanese and Cucumber Beetles have not been a problem for the late season raspberries but raspberry leaf spot and Spotted Wing Drosophila have more than made up for this shortfall.
October 29, 2012: Successive, frosty nights ended our late raspberry season -- but berry picking was good up-to-the-end !
October 15, 2012: Late red raspberry picking resumed with a good supply of berries available for picking.
October 5, 2012: While we have made significant progress in clearing up the cucumber beetle and leaf spot problems the Spotted Wing Drosophila (SWD) is proving more difficult to control. Insecticide sprays timed for early morning before the honey bee and bumble be are active seem to be missing the SWD as well. Since SWD can over winter as an adult fly in protected locations during mild winters, I am becoming concerned that we could end up facing a SWD problem with our May-June strawberry and early raspberry crop for the 2013 harvest. Let's hope for a good old fashioned Missouri winter for 2012-2013 !
September 28, 2012: Continued problems with Spotted Wing Drosophila, cucumber beetles, excessive moisture, and hail damage during the heavy thunderstorms earlier this week are combining to cause excessive berry spoilage. Customer picking may need to be paused to allow time to clear things up.
September 22, 2012: For the last several months State Extension Entomologists and fellow fruit growing colleagues in other fruit growing regions like Illinois, Michigan & Ohio have been warning us to watch out for the dreaded Spotted Wing Drosophila (SWD), an oriental cousin of the vinegar fruit fly. SWD attacks soft, ripe fruit causing premature fruit spoilage and bitter, off flavor, fruit. Fall raspberries turn out to be a favorite of the SWD. Like most "trends" and hit movies in the USA, this fruit fly arrived in St. Louis late but certainly in full force causing a significant percentage of soft, spoiled fruit at Lakeview Farms these few days or so. Our strategy of increasing the interval between pickings to improve the supply of ripe berries actually created just the opposite effect -- you never know ! Chemical control of SWD with Malathion when the SWD fly is active unfortunately would also have a very detrimental effect on the honey bees and bumble bees who find the raspberry blossoms quite attractive so I am not sure this is a good "environmental" solution.
September 15, 2012: Berry quality continues to look great but the cooler weather is causing slower ripening -- the berries were evidently unaware that Saturdays are popular picking days so the ripe red and golden raspberries were pretty well picked for the day well prior to our "closing time" of 12 Noon. For the rest of the season we may need to extend the interval between pickings to 4 days and eliminate Thursday pickings in order to insure a good supply of ripe berries for the coming Saturday's.
September 11, 2012: Berry quality now looks great but still a little scattered because of the extensive pruning required last week.
September 4, 2012: We have completed pruning out all flower clusters with overripe berries caused by the continuous rains of the past few days and initiated spraying for mold and cucumber beetles. The cucumber beetles are normally only a problem on pumpkin, squash, gourd, and melon plants but seemed to have acquired a taste for red raspberries --their feeding reduces berry keeping qualities significantly.
September 1, 2012: A few customers braved the occasional drizzle to pick raspberries. Berries were abundant but the overripe berries that were not picked are showing some signs of mold so pickers needed to be selective.
August 24, 2012: An unusually large customer turnout for a Friday pretty much "cleaned" the raspberry patch of ripe berries.
August 13, 2012: Our first day of fall Red Raspberry picking.
August 7, 2012: Fruit on the later maturing Prelude canes looks good -- berry size and flavor are both normal and sun damage is modest.
July 25, 2012: All the the very early Prelude fruiting during the +100ºF weather was pretty much "precooked" but vigorous new cane growth and blossom clusters are evident which gives us hope for August.
June 11, 2012: Some primocane (fall fruiting) blossoms are now evident on the Prelude and Fall Gold raspberries which means we may have a much earlier 2012 "fall" crop than normal.
November 11, 2011: The heavy freeze last night finally brought our late raspberry season to an end --- the berries were plentiful up to the end!
October 24, 2011: The warmer weather of the last few days has speeded up berry ripening and we now have a good supply of berries available for picking.
October 21, 2011: Picking is starting to become more scattered now as the weather continues to cool. Berry size on the Prelude is still good but the berries are not ripening up as fast as they were earlier which means that the supply of berries is more limited. I suggest calling my cell phone number listed above the morning you plan to pick for the most up-to-date report on picking conditions.
October 15, 2011: A very, very busy sales day setting an all time record for single day late season Raspberry sales going back at least 20 years ! Picking in the newer Prelude was excellent with berry size as large as I have ever seen for this variety. Their is still some Nova and Fall Gold but picking there is more scattered and berry size is smaller. Some very cold weather (and potential frosts) are expected later next week so it would be a good idea to call my cell phone the morning you plan to leave for the latest berry report.
October 6, 2011: The dry weather, cooler nights and warm days is "made to order" weather for fall Raspberries. Our supply of Prelude berries is now excellent so we can extend the days we are open to six days per week. The supply and size of Nova remains slightly less than normal. There is still a fair supply of Fall Gold available for "early bird" raspberry pickers.
September 27, 2011: Today was our best late season raspberry picking day so far. Prelude size and color are excellent and Nova size is starting to look normal.
September 19, 2011: Late raspberry Prelude picking is at its peak now and Nova picking has just begun. Prelude size and color look very good but Nova size remains smaller than normal. The cooler weather and rains have been very beneficial. Cucumber beatles, who normally only munch on pumpkins, gourds, and squash have also discovered that our new Fall Gold raspberries are quite tasty and high sugar content so our yellow raspberry supply may be impacted for these next few weeks.
September 9, 2011: Prelude size has improved with the cooler weather and picking is starting to look better. The Fall Gold yellow raspberries are still smaller in size but have a very attractive orange blush color when completely ripe and good flavor.
September 2, 2011: Red Raspberry picking continues to be very scattered. The +100ºF temperatures and intense sunlight have damaged some Prelude directly exposed to the sun during the hottest part of the day but berries hanging under the foliage continue to be OK. The new yellow raspberry, Fall Gold, while somewhat damaged is holding up much better in the sun than the variety(Anne) we used to grow. Unfortunately, Fall Gold berry size is disappointing. Small size also seems to be a serious problem on the Nova just starting to ripen -- I'm not sure whether this size problem is due to the high temperatures, not enough irrigation, or nutrient problems.
August 27, 2011: Our first Fall Gold raspberries were picked today. While the size is small, the flavor is excellent !
August 25, 2011: Berries were more scattered on our first day of picking so we will limit picking to only 3 days per week to allow for easier picking.
August 15, 2011: Although the leaves on our Prelude canes have been "preferred eating" for Japanese beetles during June & July, we did a much better job of controlling these voracious pests in 2011 with Sevin sprays on almost a weekly basis. In 2011, we will have 600 feet of Nova: 600 feet of older Prelude, and 700 feet of newly planted Prelude ( Nova and Prelude are June fruiting varieties that also produce a modest crop of fall raspberries in August, September and October). I am expecting an excellent fall crop from the 2011 planted Prelude but only a very modest harvest of smaller berries from the older Prelude. Our older Prelude unfortunately bloomed during the hottest part of July and suffered accordingly from the several weeks of +95ºF, but the later maturing 2011 Prelude planting fall crop is coming along fine since the weather finally cooled off.
Prelude is a very mild tasting berry that can be picked even when not totally ripe but Nova is a rather tart but very pretty berry that must be totally ripe (very dark red) or you'll have difficulty getting the berry off the bush. For more information on the differences among our raspberry varieties see http://www.lakeview-farms.com/RaspberryVarietiesCombined.htm