So I went to the Holland Farmers’ Market this morning–one of the last of the season for buying local fruits and vegetables–and was surprised to see raspberries there.
I asked one of the farmers who was selling raspberries if they are, indeed, local. His reply was yes, although they are not his.
As David Becker mentioned in his blog post about seven questions to ask a farmer, sometimes farmers sell produce grown by their friends and neighbors.
Sure thing, these raspberries were not grown by the farmer I talked to who lives in Fennville, Michigan. Still, they are within a local radius because they came from Coloma, Michigan, only about 50 miles from Holland.
What the farmer told me is his friend is experimenting with “high row tunnels”, which are like a shelter for the raspberries. The canes have a roof over the top so they aren’t affected by frost, and air can get in on the sides. Cornell University describes it as such: “High tunnels are simply large hoop houses covered in plastic, which allow the sides and end walls to be opened to regulate temperature.” Here’s a similar concept from the University of Missouri Extension website:
There’s even going to be a seminar about this in Grand Rapids soon, so my farmer friend from Fennville plans to go and learn more. His goal is to have enough variety of raspberries to grown them from Memorial Day through Thanksgiving. In Michigan, that’s a big deal because our growing season is so short.
I told him raspberries are my favorite fruit so I was happy about the potential longer season. He replied, “They’re my favorite, too!”