Premium Red Raspberries Grow in Washington State

Why are Washington raspberries so awesome?  It’s the fertile land and cool climate on the west side of the Cascade Mountains plus the expertise and care of Washington growers that makes Washington berries so good. The farms here are mostly family farms of several generations, with a strong connection to the land and a commitment to growing, harvesting, and processing premium quality berries.   Western Washington State is one of the few places in the country where the soil is rich and sufficiently drained and has a long, cool growing season to support the commercial growing of red raspberries.

The perennial nature of raspberries rewards good stewardship. Growers must take care of their soil and water because their livelihood depends on it. Successful raspberry growers follow practices that don’t deplete the soils of nutrients or allow erosion to carry it away. Washington land is some of the richest, most valuable farmland in the world. Sustaining their land equals sustaining their way of life and that of their community.

Raspberry Processing

It may be hard to believe, but Washington State grows 60% of the country's red raspberries!  An astounding 95% of those berries are processed as "Individually Quick Frozen" (IQF) berries, concentrates, purees, and other products.  

An amazing 99% of raspberries grown in Washington for processing are machine harvested.  Check out the video to the right to see how it works!

Why process the berries?

Everyday convenience, consistent quality, peak flavor and nutrition, and cost. Processed berries capture the berry’s flavor and texture while at the peak of perfection to make them available in a variety of convenient forms all year ‘round. 

Washington processors now use state of the art flash freezing for Individually Quick Frozen (IQF) berries, found in bags in the frozen food section. These individual berries pour right from the bag and are perfect for smoothies, baking, on cereal, in yogurt and more. In addition to consistent quality and no worries about waste, IQF berries are reasonably priced – all year around.

68,000,000 pounds!

That's how many red raspberries Washington's 122 growers produced in 2013!  That would be enough for every man, woman, and child in Washington to have almost 10 pounds of red raspberries each!

Obviously we aren't eating that many raspberries on our own, so that is why Washington exports a substantial part of its crop each year!

Washington has over 10,000 acres in raspberry production. That's more than any other state.

Check out the Whatcom County Raspberry Festivals!

Whatcom County grows most of Washington's raspberries!  Learn about the TWO raspberry festivals that Whatcom County celebrates.  The Boxx Raspberry Festival showcases nature's bounty and life on a family farm, while Lynden's Raspberry Festival is a community-wide event that offers something for everyone.

Raspberry Nutrition

Did you know that raspberries rank in the top 10 anti-oxidant-high fruits and vegetables?  Scientific research suggests that red raspberries' unique combination of nutrients and phytochemicals may provide protection against cancer, cardiovascular disease, aged-related cognitive decline, neurological diseases, diabetes, osteoporosis, and macular degeneration.

Raspberry Recipes

Raspberries make being a Washivore downright tasty!  There are so many ways you can prepare them beyond just eating them fresh!  For recipe ideas, we recommend checking out Red Razz.org  http://www.redrazz.org/recipes/

Raspberry Farming in Washington

Watch this video from the Washington Red Raspberry Commission which shows they cycle of growing and harvesting raspberries during each season of the year!  

Raspberry Growing Challenges

Washington's raspberry growers face many challenges. Even though most berries are picked by machine, it still takes a lot of hands to grow and process all those berries. Finding enough employees is always a challenge.

New pests present new challenges. A newly introduced insect, the spotted wing drosophila, is difficult to control in raspberries. If not controlled, it can mean loss of the entire crop. (Photo courtesy of WSU Mount Vernon)

Harvesting raspberries by machine.  99% of raspberries for processing are harvested by machine in Washington.

Organic or conventional?

While western Washington has many growers of both organic and conventional red raspberry growers, growing raspberries at all and certainly organically is much less common in Easter Washington.  Check out this video of one farmer in Eastern Washington that talks about the challenges and opportunities of growing raspberries organically in the Yakima Valley.

Many thanks!

Many thanks to the Washington State Red Raspberry Commission for the information on much of this page.  We recommend downloading their consumer guide for more information on local growers!