Raspberries are a mid- to late-summer delicacy in the United States. The berries are eaten fresh or baked into pies and pastries. The leaves are traditionally used for medicinal purposes, either fresh or as a tea. Raspberry plants are members of the genus Rubus and are one of two varieties: summer-bearing plants that produce fruit in midsummer or ever-bearing plants that produce fruit from summer into fall. The exact dates of raspberry-picking season will depend on your location.
Raspberries grow throughout the United States but will ripen at different speeds based on their location. In the southern United States, summer-bearing raspberries generally ripen in June, though they've been known to ripen as early as late May in some years. Ever-bearing raspberries ripen in late June or July and continue bearing until first frost. In the northern United States, summer-bearing raspberries will ripen in July. Ever-bearing raspberries ripen in late July or August and will continue bearing fruit until first frost, which is usually earlier than in southern climes.
Raspberries will not continue to ripen after picking, so pick only plump, firm, ripe fruits. The raspberry "berry" is actually made up of about 100 smaller fruits called "drupulets" and comes in many colors other than red; varieties include purple, gold and deep blue or black raspberries.
Ellie Maclin is freelance writer with more than 10 years of experience. She contributes to online and print publications, specializing in topics such as historical places, archaeology and sustainable living. Maclin holds an M.S. in archaeological resource management from the University of Georgia, as well as a B.A. with honors in anthropology from the University of North Carolina.