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The Country Enterprise Handbook
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Growing soft fruits
...- Protection
>..- Selling
...- Beds

Whether you aim to sell raspberries fresh or to process them, you should aim to pick and dispose of them very quickly.

Raspberries do not keep at all well when fresh. Put into little plastic punnets for resale, the bottom layers immediately start to produce juice and within hours can go mouldy. The best answer is to pick early in the morning and to deliver them first thing to the retailer, giving him all day to sell the punnets.

It is when they have to stay overnight that problems really set in. 'Pick your own' is a very established way of selling soft fruit.

The advantages are that you do not have to pay and look after the labour picking your fruit; the disadvantages are that the public is often unaware of the damage that children and careless adults can do to a crop. Also if you employ the labour, you can specify that all the ripe fruit on a cane must be picked; casual picking leaves ripe fruit to go mouldy and contaminate others.

If you do allow 'pick your own', then you must check that the plants are being kept in good shape at the end of the day. If you limit the access to a few rows rather than the whole crop you will get better picking, but no-one wants to feel that they are having to struggle to find enough, so you have to strike a natural balance.