Monday, July 7, 2014

Minnesota’s berries ripening for peak July picking

ST. PAUL, Minn. – Raspberries and blueberries are peaking in southern and central Minnesota as the strawberry season is underway in the northern region of the state. Cool, wet weather delayed the growing season slightly, but berry lovers can expect a variety of berries ready to be picked and enjoyed throughout the state this month.

Beth O’Connor of Blueberry Fields in Stillwater says her plants were unaffected by the unusually cold winter and are above average levels of early production. “We are seeing clusters of the green berries already setting heavily and we think it’s going to be a great year. We’ll have many berries available, including pre-picked and pick-your-own.”

Knapton’s Raspberries, Pumpkins and Orchard in Greenfield has fantastic looking raspberries despite the minor growing delays. “The blossoms are finished on our plants, as it takes one month from blossom to fruit,” said grower Gabe Knapton. “This might be the best looking crop we’ve had in three years.”

In northern Minnesota, strawberry growers expect an exceptionally plentiful harvest. Ter-Lee Gardens in Bagley expects their strawberry harvest to start this week.

The 2014 Minnesota Grown directory boasts 50 summer raspberry producers and 31 blueberry farms selling pick-your-own, pre-picked, or both. Minnesota Grown spokesperson Jessica Miles says visiting a pick-your-own berry farm is a fun, family-friendly summer day trip.  She suggests calling ahead before visiting to ensure availability of berries and favorable picking conditions.

An interactive map feature on the Minnesota Grown website makes it easy to find a berry farm. The FREE, printed Minnesota Grown directory is also available and has easy-to-use lists, an index, and farms by region. Both of the resources are available at, or you can order a print copy by calling 1-888-TOURISM.