With the help of near perfect weather for several weeks this past summer, local raspberry farmers posted the second highest harvest ever in Whatcom County.
Whatcom County’s 93 raspberry farmers harvested more than 63.4 million pounds of raspberries this past summer, a 9.8 percent increase compared to 2012, according to data from the Washington Red Raspberry Commission. The harvest record was set in 2011, at 66.3 million pounds.
Across the state, slightly more than 68 million pounds of raspberries were harvested this past summer, an 8.6 percent increase compared to 2012.
While it’s a high total, it shouldn’t be considered a bumper crop because more acres were used this year, said Henry Bierlink, executive director at of the raspberry commission. This year’s crop may be more known for the amount of high-quality raspberries that were harvested.
“This was a good year for quantity and an excellent one for quality,” Bierlink said.
He noted the first couple of weeks of the harvest were a little sketchy, with cool, wet weather. The weather then changed, providing a long stretch of sunny days with temperatures in the 70s, ideal conditions for growing and harvesting raspberries.
The price for those harvested raspberries were in the “good to respectable” range this year, Bierlink said, adding that increased demand for raspberries has helped stabilize the price. Not traditionally considered a staple food, demand for raspberries have risen as the national economy climbs out of the recession, Bierlink said. He also said the marketing of raspberries as a healthful food choice is also having a positive impact.
A look at the amount of raspberries harvested in Whatcom County since 2001.
2013: 63.4 million pounds
2012: 57.7 million pounds
2011: 66.3 million pounds
2010: 54.3 million pounds
2009: 58.9 million pounds
2008: 48.2 million pounds
2007: 47.8 million pounds
2006: 49.2 million pounds
2005: 58.7 million pounds
2004: 45.9 million pounds
2003: 54.5 million pounds
2002: 58.4 million pounds
2001: 57.5 million pounds
Source: Washington Red Raspberry Commission