Black Raspberry Season

Best-Kept Secrets
We’re coming to the end of U-Pick time for black raspberries throughout the Heartland.  

In case you've never had the good fortune to taste one, the flavor is as you might expect--part tart blackberry, part sweet red raspberry. You can sometimes find these berries at farmer’s markets, but black raspberries seem to be one of those “best-kept secrets” that people often ascribe to many things Midwestern.   

Black raspberries grow on low, shrubby bushes and ripen from dark pink to dark purple anywhere from early June to mid-July.

From homemade to high style, black raspberries feature in eveyrthing from farmhouse pies to seasonal restaurant desserts. Pachamama's in Lawrence, Kansas, scatters black raspberries over hazelnut meringues. NAHA in Chicago makes a black raspberry and lemon balm sorbet. Patrick Fahy, pastry chef at Avec and Blackbird in Chicago has gone all out with a "brown butter cake sauteed in brown butter, served with black raspberries, borage, goat cheese, caramel goat's milk ice cream, and a tableside pour of red raspberry consomme. Superb," he comments. I guess so! 

If you can’t grow or pick them yourself, here are a few delicious mail order ways to enjoy this seasonal treat. As you'll see, Ohio is especially famous for black raspberry artisan foods.

Graeter’s Ice Cream. I grew up in Cincinnati, where a “chili fix” (a 5-way or a cheese coney to quell hunger) and a visit to Graeter’s for a signature ice cream or an oh-so-good coffee cake were weekly habits.  Taking my kids to Graeter’s in Mariemont on summer evenings for ice cream. . . I’m indulging a bit of nostalgia here. . . .

Graeter’s afficionados vote Black Raspberry Chip as their favorite flavor. Is it yours?

Sweet Corn & Black Raspberries
Sweet Corn and Black Raspberry Ice Cream
from Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams

Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams.

Dynamo pastry chef/entrepreneur Jeni Britton Bauer sources full-flavored milk from grass-fed cows and local farm-fresh goodies for her signature Ohio Sweet Corn and Black Raspberry Ice Cream. I love the look of the ice cream sandwiches made with her fabulous ice cream sandwiched between large macaron-like cookies. She also has a cool movie on her home page that just makes you smile—or crave ice cream.

Visit one of her Columbus, Ohio, ice cream shops, or check out all the summer flavors at

Mrs. Miller. She's not the Mrs. Miller who was known for her warbling "Tiny Tim-like" voice. This Mrs. Miller grew up in an Ohio Amish family of 14 kids. By 1973, Esther Miller was making and selling homemade noodles from her home kitchen. It soon turned into a bustling business. Her magic culinary touch later turned to preserves. Her Black Raspberry Jam consistently receives rave reviews from customers for its fresh-picked flavor--without being too sweet. The Millers’ large family still makes the food and runs the business from Fredericksburg, Ohio, “where traditions of hard work, love of family, good ethics, and enjoyment of life’s simple pleasures are prospering,” the Millers say.

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