COLUMBUS, Ohio - Looking for a little variety in your red and black raspberry production? Try growing a yellow cultivar.
Dick Funt, an Ohio State University horticulturist, said yellow raspberries are slowly becoming hot commodities in Ohio as gourmet or specialty items, and they are not any more difficult to grow than other raspberry varieties.
"It takes a while for people to get used to the site of a yellow raspberry," said Funt. "But the fruit is becoming somewhat of a specialty item for bakeries and markets that may use the berry to decorate cakes and pastries or promote an unusual jam."
Only a handful of producers grow yellow raspberries in Ohio and only four fall cultivars exist for producers to choose from, but Funt said the berries produce size and taste qualities to rival black and red raspberry varieties and are just as easy to grow.
"The big thing right now is to get as big of a berry as possible and as sweet tasting as possible," said Funt. One cultivar, known as Anne, produces a large berry, four to eight grams, compared to a typical red raspberry's two to three grams, and has a high sugar content.
Funt said the one disadvantage to a bigger berry is that it is more susceptible to molds because it's a softer fruit. Anne and another big-berry cultivar, known as Fallgold, are susceptible to Botrytis blight, or gray mold. "But the cultivars excel at winter hardiness and as long as you keep the soil drained, you can grow yellow raspberries just about anywhere in the state."
Other fall yellow raspberries include Golden Harvest, which produces moderate yields but with small berries, and Goldie, a medium-sized, firm fruit that turns pink when ripe.
For more information on growing yellow raspberry cultivars, consult bulletin 782 on Ohioline at http://ohioline.osu.edu, or contact your local OSU Extension office for a copy of the bulletin.