Berry Patch Farms will help locals pick the right way to raise their crop

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By Crystal Nelson

BRIGHTON — Berry Patch Farms owner Tim Ferrell will be sharing his expertise in raspberry farming during the Colorado State University Extension’s first Fruit Growing Symposium in Longmont this weekend.

During the last 25 years, Ferrell has found a niche in berry farming. He has dedicated seven acres on his farm to raspberries and 10 acres to strawberries in Brighton.

At Berry Patch Farms, Ferrell grows red, black and golden raspberries, as well as strawberries and red currents, for public to pick for themselves. On a good year, he said the public will pick roughly 8,000 pounds of raspberries.

Ferrell said it isn’t common for berries to grow in Colorado but that it’s possible and the number of people trying to grow berries is increasing. He said the South Platte area is great for raising berries but the only drawback is water, since berries love water.

“It’s been a lot of trial and error. We don’t belong to the raspberry growers association because our climate here is so much different than, say, back east or in the Pacific Northwest,” he said. “Our concerns and problems are far different from theirs and vice versa.”

Ferrell said it will be fun to be speak at the symposium and plans on “sharing experiences and stories of raising the berries, raspberries in particular.”

“I think there will be all kinds of people, from home gardeners to people who want to get into raspberries as a business,” he said.

Ferrell is just one of many experts who will be speaking during the symposium. Those attending the event will hear from a number of local experts making a living by growing fruits and university experts conducting original research and trials. An apple grafting workshop will also be offered.

The symposium costs $45 to attend and will be held from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and 9 a.m. until noon Sunday at Silver Creek High School, located at 4901 Nelson Road in Longmont.

For questions about the symposium, contact CSU Horticulture Extension Agent Joel Reich by emailing jreich@bouldercounty.org or call 303-678-6386.