Welcome to Round Earth!

The 2012 Season is over!

We are now planning the 2013 Turkey Hill CSA Season –  find out more at TurkeyHillCSA.com!

Follow the harvest season on the Turkey Hill CSA website Box Updates page, or simply visit our Facebook page and become a fan for a steady stream of updates.

Check out the Raspberry Research project now underway!

Whats new at Round Earth?

Berry Updates-Year Three Summary

Farmer Adam : September 27, 2012 10:15 pm : Farm Updates, Raspberry Research, Research

The Final Year of Research

This year we experienced out first real production from the berries. several varieties produced well, while several others did not produce well at all. The less productive varieties where the same varieties that froze back to the ground last winter. Some varieties produced a late crop in September, but these were hurt this year by a lack of water – our irrigation went off August 2, about a month earlier than usual. We did have a couple of rains later in the season, but it wasn’t enough and the berries clearly suffered from the stress caused by  lack of water.

The link below takes you to the embedded data table where we tracked all of the harvest from the last three years. Each variety was trapped in each harvest was recorded. Also we took several measurements of berry size by counting the number of berries required to fill Half pint container. Please note that the link below contains a spreadsheet with two separate sheets one she is for the quantity harvested, the other sheet is for the berry sizes.

View Berry research data tables

Summary of Findings

Overall one of the biggest overall conclusions was the importance of frost hardy varieties for our area. Even in the mild winter of 2011 – 2012, several varieties froze to the ground greatly reducing the following years harvest. Another important conclusion from the commercial harvesting perspective, is that blackberries are much easier to pick than raspberries. The thornless BlackBerry varieties we grew were exceptionally easy to deal with and harvest off of. In addition, the consistently large berry size of the BlackBerries meant that filling pints of berries went much more quickly. As I add to the Berry patch I plan to plant mostly BlackBerries from this point on.

The Berry Varieties – Observations & Results

Freeze Sensitivity

The following varieties have frozen back to the ground each winter. These berries produce a fall crop for us, but it comes late enough that freeze threatens it – the best crop is the main summer crop which is borne on the canes from the previous year. When the canes freeze back to the ground, we don’t get this crop. For this reason, I would be hesitant to plant more of these varieties. The blackberry varieties produced incredibly long canes, 12-18 ft. ties these up was a lot of work, in the future i’m going to trim the last 1/3-1/2 of the length which died back anyway.
  • Heritage Everbearing
  • Polana Everbearing
The following varieties showed little or no cane die bak, and produced a stronger crop for us
  • Killarny Red Raspberry
  • Triple Crown thornless Blackberry (very long canes, ends died back)
  • Chester Thornfree Blackberry (very long canes, even more died back)
  • Encore Summer Fruiting Raspberry
  • Nova Summer Fruiting Raspberry
  • Bristol Summer Fruiting Black Raspberry
  • Encore Summer Fruiting Raspberry
  • Nova Summer Fruiting Raspberry

Size and Ease of Picking

Picking berries is hard work, even with the plants tied up on trellises, picking involves plenty of hunting through thorny canes. The reward is a delicious crop, but for the farm to profit, it also needs to be quick enough to pick that it pays to hire someone to pick it.

The raspberries were generally small and it took an average of 109 raspberries to fill a 6 oz container. The blackberries were consistently larger, with the smallest blackberry matching the largest raspberry. It took an average of only 41 blackberries to fill a 6 oz container. In addition, the thornless blackberries were truly thorn free, almost soft to the touch. they were a pleasure to work in, for all stages of production – pruning, trellising and harvest. Unless the market becomes saturated, I would plant these thornless blackberries over any of the other berries. Chester stands out as the biggest producer in out trials. On the raspberry side, Kilarny was the clear winner, producing early and over a long period with large berry size. Bristol, the only black raspberry in our trial, was also a large producer, and although the berries were small on average, they were borne in exposed clusters, making them a bit easier to harvest.

Final Pictures

These pictures show the drought damage on some of the berries this year.

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Remember This?

Farmer Adam : August 6, 2012 5:10 pm : Farm Updates

Before the Internet and Facebook, there was the press release (this was from 1994):

 

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Berry Research Harvest Records

Farmer Adam : September 4, 2011 1:46 am : Expenses, Farm Updates, Raspberry Research, Research

This is the harvest record document used to track the harvest record for all berries.

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Berry Updates – Well Established Berries Slideshow

Farmer Adam : August 16, 2010 3:26 pm : Farm Pictures, Farm Updates, Raspberry Research, Research

Here is a slideshow of some recent photos showing how well established the new berry planting is. For the best view, click the full screen button in the slideshow footer.

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Berry Update ~ Fences, Trellises & Berries!

Farmer Adam : July 11, 2010 12:26 am : Farm Pictures, Farm Updates, Raspberry Research, Research

Fences & Trellises

Work continues in the new berry planting area. The fence is now nearly complete – all the posts are in, with both heights of high tinsel wire stretched and the final lengths of barb going on today. The contractor I hired to do the work has been steadily chipping away at what seemed like a huge project when it began and the fence is just a week or two away from being done.
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Berry Update: ground cover & drip irrigation

Farmer Adam : May 23, 2010 4:57 pm : Farm Updates, Raspberry Research, Research

Installing the woven ground cover

The task of laying the ground cover out, to cover each side of the eight trellised berry rows has begun. I dug the side furrows with the tractor, this furrow takes the outer edge of the ground cover fabric, while the inner edge is pinned down with a 6″ ground staple along the berry row. This process is very labor intensive with lots of rocks to clear, digging and pinning. I’ll try to take some more detailed shots of this part of the project soon, but for now here is a far-off shot of the berries with the (black) ground fabric visible.

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Field Preparation started for Berries

Farmer Adam : April 16, 2010 3:44 am : Farm Pictures, Farm Updates, Raspberry Research, Research

Quite a bit of work to prepare the new field for berry plantings. Some larger invasive elms had to be removed witha backhoe, and a neighbor helped with an initial discing and de-rocking with his bigger equipment.
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