- Fruits: berries (brambles), berries (strawberries)
- Crop Production: high tunnels or hoop houses, varieties and cultivars
- Education and Training: demonstration, on-farm/ranch research
- Farm Business Management: feasibility study
- Production Systems: organic agriculture
- Sustainable Communities: local and regional food systems
Central Oregon’s challenging growing conditions include: 1) a very short growing season (70-
100 days); 2) average annual precipitation of ~11 inches; 3) drastic swings in diurnal
temperatures; 4) possibility of frost anytime of year; and 5) sandy soils low in organic matter
(Detweiler, 2016). The USDA plant hardiness zones in Central Oregon range from 3 to 5, with
pasture and forages as the traditional crops grown in the area.
Despite the challenging growing conditions, there is fresh-market produce grown in Central
Oregon, and there is strong demand from the community through farmer markets, CSAs,
restaurant buyers, and wholesale accounts (Rahe et al., 2017). While some vegetables are grown
very well in the region, there is almost no fruit being produced in Central Oregon, despite strong
demand. Growers report that farmers’ market patrons with federal nutrition assistance benefit
vouchers want to use their vouchers to purchase berries (Jim Fields and David Kellner-Rode,
personal communication). According to Nicole Sanchez from OSU Extension in Klamath
County, there is also a severe lack of fresh berries available for purchase in Klamath County.
Raspberries and strawberries are the most suitable berries for Central Oregon due to their cold
hardiness (Detweiler and Strik, 2008), but yield loss due to winter injury and frosts are a major
concern. Elsewhere in the US, protected culture has been used to extend the berry growing
season and improve yields (Rowley et al., 2009 & 2010). In central Oregon, high tunnels are
currently used to grow multiple high-value vegetable crops in one season, so farmers are not
likely to plant a perennial crop in a high tunnel unless proven profitable. This project aims to
determine whether berry production in Central OR is an economically viable enterprise, and if
high tunnels are a justified expense to increase profitability and fruit quality.
Project objectives from proposal:
1. To evaluate raspberry and strawberry production in both protected and unprotected
culture systems in Central OR, including berry yield and quality, in order to help growers
choose the most successful production systems.
2. To compare multiple cultivars of raspberry and strawberry for suitability to Central OR,
including adaptability, berry yield, and quality, in order to help growers make cultivar
selections most likely to lead to production success.
3. To perform economic evaluation of both protected and unprotected berry production in
Central OR, and determine whether protected culture is a justified investment.
4. To maintain records of pest management problems as they occur in both protected and
5. To conduct local, regional and interstate outreach of berry crop research in the high
desert through field days, workshops, presentations, and fact sheets.
6. To increase the supply of fresh fruit as a healthy food option for Central OR residents