There’s a lot that goes in to growing, harvesting, and freezing raspberries. Aside from requiring specific soil conditions (rich and well drained), and an ideal climate (mild winters, cool summers, and a rain-free harvest season), these incredibly delicate berries demand dedicated, passionate farmers. Regions of Chile, Serbia, Poland, Canada, California, Oregon and Washington State have these ideal environments.
As we continue our blog series to give you an insider’s glimpse into the lives of our raspberry farmers, we’re now featuring Julieann Schedeen, raspberry grower from Oregon.
As a woman, I am frequently asked how I got into farming. The real truth is, I married a farmer and I was the only person my husband could get to work for free. I just happened to be good at driving tractors and trucks so it stuck. For more than 40 years now.
My husband and I live in Oregon where conditions for growing raspberries are ideal – typically, not too hot and not too wet in the summer. Extreme heat and humidity are tough on a berry crop.
I am lucky enough to own a raspberry farm so I get to eat berries right off the bush in the summer. But most people don’t have a raspberry field behind their house, so the next best thing is frozen berries for really intense flavor. Fresh can be important to perch on top of a cupcake, but you want to make the cupcakes and frosting with frozen berries.
Frozen raspberries are picked when they are ready to fall off the vine, not when they turn pink. And nothing is added to a ‘processed’ raspberry. They are flash frozen within hours of being harvested. When you cut open a bag of frozen raspberries from the freezer case, it’s like reaching into summer. You can’t match the aroma and flavor.
I eat frozen berries every morning on top of my yogurt. I don’t thaw them, just pour them over the yogurt and add some walnuts and flax seed for the perfect start to a day.
And our new favorite winter dessert is berries tossed with a little flour and sugar in a sauce pan, heated and thickened, and then poured over pound cake or pudding cake. A little whipped cream never hurts. Or you can pour the warm berries into a bowl, crumble shortbread cookies over the top and finish with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. An instant fruit crisp!