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Savannah Thomerson
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Location: zone 6
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On our thirty acres we have ...I can't even tell you how many.... wild raspberries, black berries and blue berries. I am brainstorming on ways to pick these fellas and sell them.

Does anyone have any berry experience of this kind? I wonder if it's best to sell them fresh in little baskets, or as canned jellies? Or both? Or maybe I'm overlooking other wonderful options....?

Any input/ideas would be helpful
 
John Polk
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Unfortunately, most areas have rules/regs on cooked/packaged foods.  Usually need to be done in a Health Department inspected kitchen.  Some areas are lax, while others seem to be enforced by the Gestapo.  Check into it before you can up 300 pints of jam.  They do make some well appreciated Christmas gifts though.
 
Savannah Thomerson
Posts: 78
Location: zone 6
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John Polk wrote:
Unfortunately, most areas have rules/regs on cooked/packaged foods.  Usually need to be done in a Health Department inspected kitchen.  Some areas are lax, while others seem to be enforced by the Gestapo.  Check into it before you can up 300 pints of jam.  They do make some well appreciated Christmas gifts though.



Luckily, it is a very 'lax' area. Very rural. I suppose I will set up a little table on the side of the road a few afternoons actually
 
John Polk
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I have known several people who have made some pretty good money with fresh berries.
Even in areas where wild berries are everywhere, people still buy pint baskets.
 
Steven Baxter
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What about selling at a farmers market type place?
 
Savannah Thomerson
Posts: 78
Location: zone 6
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oracle wrote:
What about selling at a farmers market type place?


Aye that is an option in the future, though I doubt this year. There are guidelines on the type of tent/booth you have to have and paperwork, etc etc. We've only just purchased our home and land a few months ago and are much too busy I feel to get everything in order for the farmer's market and I would like to premiere (whenever that is) with all of my 'ducks in a row'
 
Josh T-Hansen
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Location: Zone 5 Brimfield, MA
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Preserve enough for your own use, and sell as many as possible fresh, then process when they start to get old.  I'm under the impression that fruit leather is all the rage now, however the berries might be too juicy and require mixing with a pulpier fruit or some other thickener.  Drying or freezing(easiest method) are simple and then you don't need to dump in buckets of sugar to make the extra sweet jam some people like.

I would try to harvest by laying down a tarp and shaking the bushes.  Printing cheesy labels can't hurt, and you could also sell mixed baskets.
 
Savannah Thomerson
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Location: zone 6
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JoshTH wrote:
Preserve enough for your own use, and sell as many as possible fresh, then process when they start to get old.  I'm under the impression that fruit leather is all the rage now, however the berries might be too juicy and require mixing with a pulpier fruit or some other thickener.  Drying or freezing(easiest method) are simple and then you don't need to dump in buckets of sugar to make the extra sweet jam some people like.

I would try to harvest by laying down a tarp and shaking the bushes.  Printing cheesy labels can't hurt, and you could also sell mixed baskets.


Very helpful Josh, and thank you!!
 
                            
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With the wild blackberries here, I've found picking takes some time and attention that maybe commercial, pruned blackberry fields wouldn't require. If you can pick fast enough to sell some surplus, go for it. The Rubus' here are a little too bitter for fresh eating I'd say, but they make a very, very good wine.
 
Savannah Thomerson
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wildeyes wrote:
With the wild blackberries here, I've found picking takes some time and attention that maybe commercial, pruned blackberry fields wouldn't require. If you can pick fast enough to sell some surplus, go for it. The Rubus' here are a little too bitter for fresh eating I'd say, but they make a very, very good wine.


Thank you for the tip, my friend
 
Sam White
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Running a 'pick your own' might be good? Means you don't have to harvest the berries yourself. Depends how wild your land is and on the number of people who live around where you are I guess.

You could also sell jams, juices, and other added value stuff wherever people pay for the PYO as well.

Sepp Holtzer talks about the PYO stuff in his newest book (guess where I got the idea from )
 
Guy De Pompignac
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PYO ?
 
Savannah Thomerson
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permaguy wrote:
PYO ?


PYO = Pick Your Own

And yes this would be a  terrific idea, except the property is much too wild I believe.....Alas
 
S. G. Botsford
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Lee Valley Tools (leevalley.com) sells a berry scoop that will help picking.

Pick as fast as you can when they are best, sell what you can, and freeze the rest.  The freeze/thaw will actually help juice them for jam and jelly.

Most health departments are pretty forgiving on acid fruits preserved with sugar. (Most jams and jellies.  Do check, but you shouldn't have a problem.

As a reference point, home made preserves seem to go for $7.00/pint here in Alberta.

You make make picking far more productive by pruning.

E.g. Our black currents bear heaviest on 2nd year wood  So we cut half our bushes to the ground each fall.  They won't produce the next year, but the year after are very heavily laden.  (Red currents are different...)

Clear pathways.  Use  your mower and clear paths that are at least wide enough for a wheelbarrow, with some bare bones lanes that you can drive a pickup on.

Experiment with irrigation

Blueberries at least want an acid soil.  You can add sulfur to make the soil more acid.
 
Ken Peavey
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I'm a huge fan of Pick Your Own. 
You don't have to pick em, clean em, pack em, ship em.  The customer gets the fruit so fresh that the only way to get it fresher is to lean over and graze.  The time you would spend picking/cleaning/packing/shipping may be better spent taming that wilderness.  Hack down the overgrowth, cutting paths to the berry plants, use it mulch the berry plants. 

Doing some gathering for value added goods is part of diversifying your income.  There are plenty of folks who like jam but dont have the time/energy/equipment/patience/skill to make it.  Pick berries, offer them for sale at an Already Picked price, unsold product goes into the kitchen for the next step. 

 
Jocelyn Campbell
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JoshTH wrote:
...I'm under the impression that fruit leather is all the rage now, however the berries might be too juicy and require mixing with a pulpier fruit or some other thickener. ...


Having made lots of fruit leather in the past, the recipes I used always recommended mixing applesauce with berries or other fruits that have less natural pectin than apples. I heard salal berries have loads of pectin, though I haven't cooked with them yet.

At the risk of making this more appropriate for a cooking forum thread, fruit leathers are awesome when sprinkled on the top with coconut or chopped nuts, spices added, etc. 
 
Ken Peavey
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Way back in the day when I had more teeth, we would make a sort of trail mix: GORP.  Dried fruit, nuts, coconut, raisins, M&Ms, sunflower seeds, banana chips, chocolate chips, dried cranberries...if it was sweet or nutty, it went into the bucket

Fruit leather would be a fine addition, chopped or shredded.  If there is enough stuff in the bucket, it should keep the blend from clumping.  If it does clump, so much the better.
 
Paula Jakobs
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Location: Central Texas, zone 8
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I can tell you my favorite use for berries (especially blackberries and raspberries), though doing this commercially might have some legal loops to jump through:

Blackberry (or other berry) cordial: Pick berries, put them in a pretty mason jar, add vodka and a bit of sugar. Let it sit for 2 months. You end up with a pretty and delicious drink. If you pick them and do a large batch of these when they're ripe in the summer, you'll have lots of jars of cordial ready to sell in time for the holidays when people are looking for gifts. Tie a ribbon on each jar and you're set to go. I made a batch for Christmas presents. It looks really pretty with the berries inside.

Like I said though, there's probably a lot of licensing issues with selling alcohol (unless you can sell it wholesale to stores?)
 
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