About Local Food

Qualla Berry Farm is part of a loose community of growers and marketers throughout western NC who are seeking to provide locally grown food to people who live and visit  the mountains. We are helping to develop ways to keep our rural land in agricultural production. We are listed in the Local Food Guide produced by the Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project. For more about U-Pick farms, tailgate markets, and community supported agriculture growers, see their website: www.buyappalachian.org

Growing Berries



Qualla Berry Farm on Raspberry Cultivation:

Raspberries are a biennial plant. In the spring the new growth or primocanes emerge from the root systems. For everbearing varieties like ours the new canes grow up, bloom in August, and produce clusters of berries on the tips in September and they last until frost. After they go through a winter they produce another crop of berries on the side shoots or floricanes. These berries come on in June in our area. The cycle keeps repeating if the canes are given room so you will have two crops per year continuously, from the primocanes in September and from the floricanes in June.

Our method for growing raspberries consists of double-digging a long bed 30" wide, oriented east-west. We add compost or composted manure and top with mulch. Raspberry starts are planted 18"-24" apart. We trellis using steel T-posts of the type used for electric fence, placing them along the edges of the bed about 8-10 feet apart. Then horizontal wires (the lighter gauge electric fence wire) are run at 1, 2, 3, and 4 feet off the ground to contain the canes. For multiple rows, we leave 7 foot pathways between rows. We cut out dead canes twice a year (the spent primocanes can be topped just above the upper wire in the winter) and move suckers that get out of the bed into new beds.

Our raspberry variety came from a local grower and we do not know its exact name. It is very similar to the Heritage variety. It is well adapted to our area and has been quite trouble free as far as pests and diseases until the Drosophila suzuki fruit fly showed up in 2011. Stay tuned as we learn what works and let us know if you find out something . The fruit fly changes everything.

They do need good drainage and plenty of water. Full sun is best.

Here are some helpful websites for information on berries:

Small Fruits





More About Raspberries:

Besides being delicious, raspberries have excellent nutritional qualities. They are rich in vitamin C, contain a potential anti-cancer agent called elegiac acid, and are a source of soluble fiber.

Raspberries freeze well (spread out on cookie sheets and freeze, then seal in freezer bags) and can be used in all kinds of recipes. One of our favorites is to heat the frozen berries gently in a saucepan and pour over ice cream. They make great smoothies- stir together in a blender frozen raspberries, banana, apple juice, peaches and strawberries if you have them.