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Garth Brown |

Raspberries are the best kind of fruit in the world. I know plenty of people who disagree with me about this particular statement, but it's my true for me and I'm author of this blog post.

I found this pile of gems by the bottom end of the "little woods". The term "little woods" predates my time on this farm by many decades since the neighbors came up with it long ago so they could effectively communicate locations while hunting. It's a five acre block of hemlock and white ash. Apparently there once was a Jersey bull that spent much of his time in there and set more than one deer hunter running for his life while crossing his territory. All that is left of that era is a mostly decayed barbed wire fence.

I was in the little woods cutting trees to accomplish three goals at once. Firewood is an obvious number one. Reason two was to push the woods back from the edge of the hay field as the trees and shrubs had encroached 20 to 30 feet in many places. Third, was to collect logging slash for pig bedding this winter. Most loggers leave the branches or "slash" in the woods where they drop the trees since there isn't much sale value in them. I need lots to run through my chipper to make a good dry base pack for my animals to winter on. The chips make a good base and soak up a lot of nutrients from the urine and manure, which in turn makes them into good fertilizer for the fields. Straight up wood chips are useful for some projects, but they are too carbon rich and break down too slowly to spread straight on a hay field. After some time under animals they are much improved from a fertility standpoint.

Raspberries and blackberries thrive on wood edges and in selectively logged forests. I'd never found fruit on this particular patch before but I'd never had reason to be there right when the berries ripened. I knew there were canes along the old rock pile. What I didn't realize was they bore a substantial and delicious crop. I may just have to try transplanting some canes into my garden because the flavor was good and the yield was impressive for such poor growing conditions (rocks and weeds). In a proper garden bed they might be spectacular. While I have lots of raspberry plants in my garden they are most late bearing types. I'd like a row of early reds like these...


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