Raspberries (Rubus spp.) are included in the group of small fruits generally referred to as ‘brambles’ or ‘caneberries.’ They have perennial crowns and roots that produce biennial canes. Typically canes bear fruit the second year and then die naturally after fruiting. Some raspberries (known as ‘everbearing’, ‘fall-bearing,’ or ‘primocane-bearing’) also produce fruit at the tips of the first-year canes.
Raspberries are primarily sold at farmers markets and roadside stands. Some are sold to restaurants, via community supported agriculture (CSA) shares, and through U-pick operations. There are some raspberries marketed wholesale to grocery retailers in Kentucky. Smaller wholesale volumes could be sold at Kentucky’s produce auctions, which report strong prices for fresh berry sales.
Early-season red, purple and black raspberries can be successfully grown commercially in Kentucky. Everbearing raspberries and yellow raspberries, which fruit later in the year, are no longer recommended because of the extensive spray program required for spotted wing drosophila (SWD) and the difficulty of achieving control. Raspberry cultivars can vary in terms of cold hardiness, yield potential, length of time to ripening, as well as sensitivity to disease and insect problems. Fruit firmness, size, flavor, and shape can also differ between cultivars. Growers should select marketable cultivars adapted to Kentucky.