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Berry Production (BF 122)

Bf122BerryGetting Started with Production and Marketing

If you’re exploring the idea of adding berries and bramble fruits to your farm, this course will help you consider all the aspects of this decision, from varieties and site selection all the way through profit potential and marketing.

“The expertise and resources presented and available in this course are awesome and arm me with the information needed to make better decisions regarding whether to move forward with a particular berry crop or reconsider.” –Curt N, Pottstown, PA

Target Audience

This course will be especially useful if you are exploring the possibilities of growing berries for income – be it supplemental or for your livelihood. The material presented will assume little past knowledge of farming, but a background in gardening will be very helpful.

Learning Objectives

Upon completion of this course, you will understand:

  • Primary considerations when choosing a site for successful berry farming
  • Basic cultural demands of the 3 major berry crops (strawberry, blueberry and brambles)
  • Cultural requirements of an array of lesser known berry crops
  • Pest complexes of the major berry crops
  • Post-harvest requirements of berries
  • Considerations for successful marketing of berry crops
  • How to analyze costs vs. expenses and be able to incorporate them into a business plan


The bulk of the course happens on your own time, with discussions, readings, and assignments in MOODLE, our virtual classroom. To add to the experience, webinars will be woven into the online interface of the course to allow you to meet on a weekly basis to learn from outside presenters and ask questions to address your farm issues in real time. If you miss a webinar, they are always recorded and posted for later viewing.


Laura McDermott is a regional fruit and vegetable specialist for the Capital District Fruit and Vegetable Team of Cornell Cooperative Extension in NY.

Jim O’Connell is the small fruits educator for the Cornell Cooperative Extension in Ulster County, NY and the Eastern NY Commercial Horticulture Program.


November 8 – December 16, with Webinars on Tuesday evenings from 6:30 – 8:00pm EST. This course is currently closed, with registration re-opening in mid-August 2017.

Course Outline

  • Week 1: Site Selection – Understand how to evaluate the quality of your soil using several different physical and chemical tests. Learn to evaluate the market potential of a site. Learn how to identify suitable irrigation sources.
  • Week 2: Strawberries – cultural systems of strawberries; recommended varieties; pest management.
  • Week 3: Blueberries – cultural systems of blueberries; recommended varieties; pest management.
  • Week 4: Raspberries and Blackberries – cultural systems of bramble crops; recommended varieties; pest management.
  • Week 5: Lesser known berry crops – many minor berry crops will be covered (currants, gooseberries, and others).
  • Week 6: Post-harvest and marketing

Cost and Registration

Registration is currently closed and will re-open in mid-August 2017.

Fee for this course is $250. Sign up a month or more in advance of the next course start date and receive $25 off. Sign up for three or more courses and received $50 off your total.