Cornell and Pennsylvania State Universities are conducting research on high tunnel production to help northeastern berry growers capture a larger portion of the market for fresh berries through season extension methods. This publication, along with its counterpart, “Greenhouse Raspberries”, (http://www.fruit.cornell.edu/Berries/bramblehtml/ghrasp.html) presents current data generated by this ongoing research.
Greenhouse production of raspberries and blackberries has helped to bridge one gap in establishing all season bramble production in the Northeast. However, using this method alone to cover bramble production during mid-winter months may not be cost effective for producers, especially in the face of rapidly rising energy costs. Conversely, the same rapidly rising energy costs also provide a unique opportunity for expanding local and regional market shares over those currently held by imports.
Production of high quality, locally grown and shipped raspberries and blackberries could potentially shift the market supply from import to domestic along the Atlantic seaboard. High tunnel bramble production offers the opportunity to bridge the remaining gaps in availability during late fall and late spring. Because tunnels offer a less expensive form of season extension than greenhouses, they appear to be an ideal production option when temperatures are not
Furthermore, high tunnels allow less hardy floricane fruiting raspberries and blackberries to overwinter in climates where they would otherwise be killed. High tunnels allow primocane-fruiting blackberries to be produced where the growing season is too short otherwise to mature the crop. These technologies, coupled with the continued development of new varieties and field production techniques, bring the goal of all season bramble production closer to fruition (no pun intended!) for northeastern small fruit growers.Download the paper High Tunnel Raspberries and Blackberries