MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Blueberry and raspberry reason starts the first two weeks in July.

Berry growers across the state say fields full of blossoms are ready to be picked soon. Blueberry and raspberry season starts towards the end of strawberry season.

Depending on the variety and weather conditions, blueberry season lasts at least three weeks.

Temperatures in the 70s and 80s extend the season, and allow a steady ripening pace.

According to the Minnesota Department of Agriculture, excessive heat can cause berries to ripen too quickly and shorten the season.

“Blueberries and raspberries are best harvested during the morning hours and should be refrigerated as soon as possible,” said Sam Kedem of Sam Kedem Nursery and Garden in Hastings. “Wait to rinse your berries until you are ready to use them. Raspberries can be kept in the fridge for up to four days, and blueberries will keep for about a week. Both kinds of berries freeze well, too, so you can enjoy them throughout the year.”

Minnesota berries are grown for their robust, juicy flavor, not for long shelf-life or shipping abilities.

“Color change typically signals that it is time to harvest, so look for a deep color,” said Bill Hein of Straight River Farm in Faribault. “Mature berries will detach easily. If you have to tug, the berry’s not ripe yet.”

To find local pick-your-own berry farms or farmers markets, visit the MN Grown Directory.

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