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New Red Raspberry Variety AvailableBy Kathryn Barry Stelljes
January 13, 1999
Lewis, a new red raspberry from the Agricultural Research Service, is available now for homeowners and pick-your-own growers.
The new variety is the first red raspberry ARS berry breeders have released for the summer fresh-fruit market since the Potomac variety was released in 1939. Lewis plants bears large, glossy, firm fruit in June and July. The berries are larger than those of Meeker and Willamette, standard red raspberries grown for processing in the Pacific Northwest.
Chad E. Finn of ARS' Horticultural Crops Research Laboratory in Corvallis, Ore., jointly released Lewis in cooperation with colleagues at the Horticulture and Food Research Institute of New Zealand. ARS is the chief scientific agency of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
The new berry's name honors historic figures in both countries. The expedition led by Meriwether Lewis and William Clark spent the winter of 1805-06 in Oregon after reaching the Pacific during their historic overland trek. New Zealand surveyor Henry Lewis discovered a route through that country's Southern Alps in the 1850s.
Lewis red raspberry should grow well in the Pacific Northwest and California, or other raspberry-growing areas where winter temperatures dont fall much below zero degrees Fahrenheit. The season in New Zealand runs from November to December.
Raspberries are low in fat and a good source of dietary fiber. Research at the Hollings Cancer Center in Charleston, S.C., also indicates that red raspberries may be potent cancer-fighters due to their high ellagic acid content.
Local nurseries can order Lewis plants from two wholesale outlets in Washington: Sakuma Brothers Farms in Burlington and Spooner Farms in Puyallup.