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New Mexico State University

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Pick Up Berry Tips at Lincoln Workshop

LAS CRUCES -- From planting to preserves, every aspect of raspberry and blackberry production and marketing will be covered during a workshop and farm tour Aug. 21 near Lincoln.

The free, two-hour workshop begins at 10 a.m. at Serendip Orchard, 1.4 miles west of Lincoln on Highway 380 (mile marker 96). The event is sponsored by New Mexico State University's Cooperative Extension Service.

"Besides covering raspberries and blackberries, we'll also learn about Serendip's diverse fresh and processed fruit operation," said George Dickerson, horticulture specialist with NMSU's Cooperative Extension Service. "Hershel and Elaine Anderson, who own the orchard, will explain how they've combined sweet and sour cherry production with their berry operation."

Hershel Anderson, a retired accounting professor from North Texas State University, planted his first cherries in 1989 and his first raspberries in 1990. The Andersons added blackberries in 1995.

The majority of the raspberry acreage is planted in Ruby and Autumn Bliss, two everbearing varieties that produce mostly from late summer to frost.

"One of the demonstration trials we're going to look at during the workshop is a hedgerow of raspberries we covered with a floating row cover early in the season to encourage early growth," Dickerson said. "It looks as if it accelerated berry production by at least two weeks or more, which means greater production and increased profits, especially since the row cover can be reused year after year."

Elaine Anderson will explain how some of the berries are processed into jams, preserves and vinegars in the on-farm kitchen. The Andersons' unique label is part of the marketing process, making an impression on both local customers and tourists, Dickerson said. For more information about the tour, contact Dickerson at (505) 275-2576 or Barry Herd, Lincoln County Extension agent, at (505) 648-2311. If you are an individual with a disability who is in need of an auxiliary aid or service to participate in this event, please contact Dickerson or Herd two weeks in advance.