Our objective at Lakeview Farms is to make your raspberry picking experience as pleasant as possible. To insure that you are picking in an area that has not been recently picked, we provide a white berry carrier with a colored penant at the top then assign customers to their own individual row . This white berry carrier is to be left in the grass path where you stop picking. Out of consideration for the customer who will pick in your row one or two days later and not wish to sort through large quantities of overripe/spoiled berries, we ask that you try to pick most of the ripe berries that are free from obvious problems. If you are inadvertently assigned to a row that appears to have little or no high quality pickable berries, please leave the carrier/flag we provided where you stopped picking, then ask your field supervisor to be reassigned to another aisle. Be sure to bring your berries with you !
Raspberries are the most fragile fruit you can pick and should be handled with extreme care!Select only darkly colored berries with a grey "bloom" on the outside that pull easily off the core leaving a hollow spot in the center of the raspberry like these to the right. Leave behind the yellow-white core on the bush. If you have difficulty pulling off the raspberry fruit without the core and stem coming off as well, the raspberry is probably not ripe enough --- select only darker berries---this is particularly important for the Nova variety. A berry that is overripe will "mush" in your hands when you try to pick it. Overipe berries should only be picked if you intend to use/freeze the berries the same day they were picked. A normal overripe, mushy berry should have a very sweet taste--avoid keeping any overripe berries that have demonstrated an "off" flavor when you sample a few.
Protect the berries from direct sunlight and excessive heat -- especially in a car. Cool the berries down in your refrigerator just as soon as you get them home. Do not wash the berries until you intend to use or freeze them.
If you purchased more berries than you can use in 2 or 4 days, freeze the rest. Under ideal conditions (dry, cool weather before you pick and quick refrigeration after you pick) berries can be kept 4 to 6 days. It is not very often that we have "ideal" conditions in Missouri. Raspberries will mold in storage quicker than any other fruit so do check on them every day in the refrigerator.