Idaho grows a variety of different berries including blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, strawberries and if you are out foraging you can find non-domesticated huckleberries. In Idaho, berries are produced primarily by small farmers and sold at the farm, at Farmers Markets or at one of several U-Pick locations.
The first berries to become available are strawberries. They are available in late May or early June, depending on the weather. Idaho strawberries are best recognized by their rich red color, small fruit, and a sweetest flavor. Locally grown berries taste better than strawberries grown and imported from out of state which are harvested while still green to allow time for transportation. Local strawberries are picked only when fully ripened to allow for the sweetest fruit available.
Idaho’s blueberries come from a long lived, perennial, wooded shrub. Our warm summers and cool nights are perfect for growing big firm tasty berries. Blueberries, like apricots and other fruits, require a cooling off period to develop tight firm skins and higher levels of natural sugars that are produced inside the berry adding flavor and color. Idaho also has a small quantity of rocky mountain blueberries. This variety is native to the intermountain west but rarely cultivated and available mid-June.
There are two seasons for raspberries in Idaho. Some varieties begin ripening around the end of June, just as strawberries are finishing up. Other varieties come on in August and are available until the first frost in the fall. Once raspberries are picked they will not ripen any further which makes it important to pick ripe, local raspberries. To enjoy raspberries year around, freeze them or turn them into delicious jams and jellies.
Blackberries are the last to become available around the middle of August. Blackberries are not grown commercially in Idaho, but many small farmers and backyard gardeners grow and sell them directly to consumers.