I wish I could say raspberries were in season locally, but my appetite will have to wait another two months to be satisfied.
This photograph, from last July, is of the Tulameen raspberry. ‘Tulameen’ was bred by one of UBC’s Friends of the Garden, Hugh Daubeny, while working as a research scientist for Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada.
As David Karp exclaimed in his New York Times article while writing about new hybrids that do not sacrifice flavour for production values, “…Tulameen [is] a large, luscious variety introduced in 1989 from British Columbia. It is considered the standard of quality in Europe, with an ancestry that includes Willamette, an old Northwest processing variety, for high flavor, and Cumberland black raspberry, for firmness.” Indeed, while in both Bath and London in 2003, we bought Spanish-grown ‘Tulameen’ raspberries at Marks and Spencer.
Scientifically speaking, a raspberry is not a true berry, but rather an “aggregate of drupelets”. Each of the spherical units that make up the entire fruit was once a single pistil that has now matured into a drupelet; a drupe is a fruit with a fleshy exterior and a single hardened seed–think of pitted fruit like cherries or peaches–while a drupelet is simply a smaller drupe. Unlike cherries though, the drupelets of raspberries are assembled together into a single larger fruit–hence, an aggregate. A true berry, in botanical terms, is a simple fruit that is generally thin-skinned, fleshy, and contains multiple seeds–think grapes and blueberries.
If you live locally, you can often find a few plants at the Shop in the Garden (and some will also be available at the Perennial Plant Sale today). If you don’t live locally, check online – quite a few nurseries stock the canes, particularly in the Pacific Northwest and the UK.