When I was a child, I hated to take naps. At least, that’s what my mom and dad tell me. The story goes that every afternoon in the summertime I would disappear…nowhere to be seen. Mom, however, knew where I was. She would find me without fail sitting in the raspberry patch behind the house tenderly plucking the fruits from the brambles before popping them into my mouth. The succulent little fruits were an excellent escape from naps, and it remained so until I outgrew childhood naps. That, and the raspberry bushes slowly died off as a result of tree growth and lack of sunshine.
While my opinions on naps since then have changed, my love of raspberries has not. Unfortunately, the ruby-red fruits seem wildly expensive and excessive in the grocery store, no matter how much I sigh over them as I push my cart past.
When I went to Latvia, a little old lady we visited instantly won my love. She had a garden. A HUGE GARDEN. An awe-inspiring, color-explosion, fruit-filled garden. What’s more, she had raspberries. And not just the ruby red raspberries I had grown up with. She had GOLDEN raspberries. I’m pretty sure I pulled a “Blueberries for Sal” move right then and there and ate half of her crop!
So, when Benjamin and I were at Southern States Farmers Coop looking at fruit trees, I pounced on the opportunity to get a raspberry plant! However I bought a red variety, and today, I am determined to return to pick up an “Anne Yellow Raspberry.” I’m pretty sure the raspberry I picked up was either an Encore Red or a Heritage Red. (I’ll go back and read the label and get back to you.)
Now, raspberries aren’t just beautiful to look at. (Though they are very beautiful!) They are also extremely good for you! Like the more hyped-up Acai berry (said, a-sigh-ee), raspberries have a lot of antioxidant action going on for them because of the ellagic acid they contain. Raspberries are also antimicrobial and are especially helpful in preventing a build-up of bacteria and fungi in the body. (I’m thinking yeast and vaginal infections here ladies.) Raspberries are also chock-full of Vitamin C: about 53% of your suggested daily values is in just one cup of raspberries. There’s also a tale going around that the ellagitannins in Raspberries have anti-carcinogenic (or anti-cancer) qualities. I’m not a scientist, and I’m not about to set out to prove it, but hey…it’s certainly not a reason to eat less of these dainty, lady-like fruits! If you’re wanting more information on the healthy Raspberry, here’s the site I got most of my information from: Raspberries, one of the World’s Healthiest Foods.
All this is to say, that Raspberries are pretty fantastic. Now, I mentioned earlier that they are just CRIMINALLY expensive at your local grocery. So, what’s the solution? In my opinion, grow your own. As a rule, Raspberries need full sunshine and well drained soil. Apart from that, Raspberry plants can be used any way you want in your landscape design. You could turn them into a hedge because of their bramble qualities or you could let them edge up your house on one side. The flowers themselves are beautiful, so no need to worry about eyesores. Not to mention, I’m pretty sure that you’ll find yourself cooking with the beautiful fruits in a variety of ways.
If you don’t love raspberries by the end of the summer, I will hold myself personally responsible!