Raspberries have always been my favorite fruit. Popped into my mouth fresh off the cane, simmered into jam, or blended into smoothies; for me, few flavors are more delightful.
    So when I first began dabbling with gardening back in our pre-farming years, one of my plans was to plant raspberries. But, that spring, we moved to start farming before my carefully planted tulips were even up.
    Lucky for me, though, there was a patch of raspberries at my home farm, so I didn’t go without fresh picked berries.
    Then, when we moved to Melrose, the enormous raspberry patch at Glen’s folks’ farm kept me supplied. I spent many afternoons picking berries there when the kids were little.
    Now, 16 years later, I finally have a raspberry patch of my own. But, truthfully, I should call it our raspberry patch, because everyone has contributed to making it happen.
    We rekindled the idea of our own raspberries last fall and started looking for plants. Over the winter, a friend mentioned they always have extra daughter plants after thinning out their stand in the spring.
    So between our friends and my father-in-law’s co-worker, who also thinned out his rather large raspberry patch, we ended up with 48 raspberry transplants in our new patch – three varieties of red raspberries and a golden variety.
    Glen’s dad, Vern, helped us plant them all. Glen and Dan dug the holes; Vern, Monika and I planted the canes; Daphne topped the plants off with barnyard compost, while trying to save all of the earthworms.
    For the first couple days, we all took turns watering the raspberries. Then Glen made a drip line for the berries out of a couple old hoses, complete with a castrating band to hold the kinked end closed. You can’t beat farmers’ ingenuity. The drip line literally saved the raspberries. It would have been nearly impossible to maintain moisture during this unseasonably dry June, especially on those blast-furnace days.
    We were a little late in the season for transplanting, so some of the canes look a little tough. But some of them are blooming. I was overjoyed to see bees buzzing around the delicate blossoms when I checked the drip line last week. Perhaps we’ll have a few berries to pick this summer.
    Like many things in life, though, our new raspberry patch needs us to be patient. Our transplants have more important things to do right now than make fruit. They need to put down roots and acclimate to their new home. Next summer, they’ll be all settled in, and we should be in raspberry heaven.
    I can hardly wait for my kids to experience the joys and challenges of raspberry picking which happen to mirror some important life lessons.
    Raspberries often hide behind the leaves. Oftentimes, you need to look at the canes from a different angle to find the fruit. Berries also hide beneath the leaves. It’s important to regularly kneel down and look up.
    The sweetest, tastiest raspberries are always the ones that require a little effort to pull off – ripe but resistant.
    Raspberries magically taste better when you grow and pick them yourself.
    For that reason, I’m guessing very few raspberries will actually make it into the refrigerator. I can already see Daphne’s red-stained fingers and cheeks.
    If there are any berries left for freezing, they might find themselves whipped up into a decadent dessert. My favorite elaborate recipe is floating raspberry dessert, a classic from Grandma Mae’s cookbook that will forever taste like my youth. My favorite simple treat is a bowl of frozen raspberries topped with whipped cream.
    Or, we’ll blend them into smoothies. The kids love berry smoothies made with frozen berries, yogurt, milk and a bit of honey. I love my TMR smoothie, which has been my daily breakfast for over 10 years now.
    If you’re looking for a complete, easy breakfast, this smoothie is it. I used to add sugar or stevia, but now I like it with the natural sweetness from the berries.

TMR super smoothie
1 cup viili (Finnish cultured whole milk) or whole-milk yogurt
1 cup frozen raspberries (or other frozen berries)
2 tablespoons unflavored whey protein powder
2 tablespoons ground chia seeds
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
1 tablespoon collagen protein powder
1 tablespoon dried greens powder
Enough milk or water to fill blender cup (¼ to ½ cup)

Place all ingredients in an 18-ounce rocket blender cup. Blend until smooth. Enjoy!
    Sadie and her husband, Glen, milk 100 cows near Melrose, Minn. They have three children – Dan, 11, Monika, 8, and Daphne, 5. Sadie also writes a blog at www.dairygoodlife.com. She can be reached at sadiefrericks@gmail.com.