STEPHENTOWN, NY — Berries are a delicious addition to any meal, and they provide an array of health benefits nearly unmatched by other fruits and vegetables. They’re also an important part of the New York State agricultural economy, and the state economy as a whole.
Currently, berries — primarily strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, and blackberries — are grown in all but a few counties of New York State. More than 400 farms sell berries, whether wholesale to grocery stores and chefs or retail directly to customers through farmers’ markets, farm stores, and pick-your-own (U-pick) operations. About 23 percent of the state’s land area is used by farms to grow a range of fruits and vegetables, and the state is a leading agricultural producer in many categories.
In 2016 and 2017, berries accounted for $6.5 million in sales, with strawberries leading the way with nearly $6 million in total sales. Blueberries followed at about $300,000, with raspberries and blackberries accounting for about almost $120,000.
The berry-growing season in New York State is short but spectacular, producing rich, sweet fruits that are versatile, healthful, and crowd-pleasing. The season starts with strawberries, with the first fruits available in late May or early June and lasting until mid-July. Summer raspberries follow in July, with blackberries overlapping starting in the second week of the month and lasting through early August. Blueberries have one of the longest growing seasons of all New York State fruits, with the earliest berries appearing in mid-July and, at some farms, growing all the way until early October. Fall raspberries generally start to appear in early August, and are available through October.
Founded in 1988, the New York State Berry Growers Association (NYSBGA) is a nonprofit educational association for berry growers, from large wholesale family farms to independent farm stands and small pick-your-own operations, across New York State. The NYSBGA promotes the growing and marketing of berries through the exchange of valuable information, including scientific research and farming techniques. We also represent growers in issues of labor, research, and technology, both academically and legislatively, and award research grants to study and address issues important to New York State berry growers.
To locate a farm in your area of New York that sells fresh, locally grown berries, visit our Find a Farm directory. Or bookmark our blog for nutritional information, recipes, and original serving ideas.