PIKETON, Ohio - Black raspberry varieties are the number one raspberries being grown in Ohio, according to a pre-season survey by Ohio State University researchers.
Fifty-seven percent of the 174 growers sampled in the survey said they grow black raspberries, followed by 26 percent who grow red raspberry spring varieties, and 14 percent who grow red raspberry fall varieties. Purple and golden raspberry varieties rounded out the survey with about three percent of the acreage.
Sandy Kuhn, berry coordinator of the university's Centers at Piketon, said the pre-season survey is the first in a series of raspberry studies being conducted this summer. The surveys are designed to determine how many acres of raspberries are being grown in Ohio, where producers grow their crop, and what markets are willing to purchase local raspberries and at what price.
"With the interest in growing and marketing berries steadily increasing in Ohio, we wanted to get a feel for what is currently being grown, yields producers are getting and how berries are being marketed," said Kuhn. "This will give us an idea of what kinds of new and existing products growers should be targeting and where there are potential markets."
The 1997 Ohio Census of Agriculture reported 245 acres of raspberries grown on 181 farms in Ohio. Kuhn said that although those figures are helpful, the information is not entirely accurate. "Well, for one thing, that is the most recent data we have," she said. "Also, there are many farmers who grow only small acres of berries and only market them in pick-your-own operations, so they are not registered in the census."
In addition to identifying the top raspberry varieties, the pre-season survey also outlined prices producers charge customers in pick-your-own operations, on-farm markets and community farmers markets. For example, producers who grow and sell black raspberries typically charge $2.37/lb in pick-your-own markets, $3.33/pint in on-farm markets, and $3.79/pint in farmers markets. The prices in the survey were set by the producers based on what they received for their product the previous year. Kuhn said a second survey, to be conducted later in the season, will determine what producers actually receive in all three markets.
The National Agricultural Statistics Service is assisting in compiling survey data. OSU researchers have applied for a two-year, $55,000 state-planning grant to help fund the surveys. The pre-season survey is available online at http://www.ag.ohio-state.edu/~prec/hort/berry/price.htm.