Raspberries: This is what Frank Uwihs, an expert in raspberries at AGRAVIS has to say about cultivation, harvest forecasts and varieties

They're the fruits everybody loves and that help ring in the summer. There are more than 500 varieties. But, what do you have to keep in mind when cultivating, harvesting and purchasing them? Well,Frank Uwihs, has all the answersOur special culture Our special culture expert at AGRAVIS Raiffeisen AG being interviewed.

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How do you recognise whether fruits are good or not?

Uwihs: Customers can tell whether raspberries are fresh from their colour and brightness. But don't forget that the raspberry's taste is also an important criterion of quality. Unfortunately, the customer cannot see what they're like on the inside, such as fruit meat and sweetness. The general rule is the shorter the route from the producer to the customer, the fresher they are and the better the quality.

What does an agriculturist have to bear in mind when cultivating raspberries?

Uwihs: The idea is to harvest the fruits with the sepals plant while avoiding damage. Rain and moisture cause them to be infected with funguses so that the fruits putrify while botrytis and raspberry mildew are the greatest problems when cultivating raspberries. Cultivating in sheet and greenhouses keeps the rain away from the fruits. What's more, it makes it more difficult for fungus to infest them.

How do you see the harvest forecasts for 2015?

Uwihs: Unfortunately, there will be a lot fewer raspberries this year. One of the reasons is the fact that blossoms have been destroyed by night frost in some regions, which is why fewer berries can develop on the plants.

What varieties are there and how do they differ?

Uwihs: There are more than 500 varieties of raspberries now although not all are suited for cultivation. One typical early variety for tunnel cultivation is Clery. But there are also varieties with such fanciful names as Elegance, Sonata or Symphony. Older and more unusual varieties are the latest news this year while white pineberry raspberries will be coming to the market soon.