Spring and Early Summer
In the Northeast my earliest harvestable perennial crop is technically not a fruit. Asparagus spears emerge as early as late April and are harvestable until into June. The beginning of asparagus harvest launches the official harvest season for my perennials. Fresh spears signal the impending fruit season is only weeks away!
Asparagus aside, fruit season doesn’t start for most people in the Northeast until the Strawberry. Strawberry season can begin as early as late May, but most years doesn’t start in earnest until the first or second week of June. While the strawberry gets all the press about being the earliest berry, the Haskap or Honeyberry actually ripens a week or two earlier than the strawberry. For more on the Honeyberry check out this article where we discuss the basics of the honeyberry!
Shortly after strawberry picking comes the Cherry harvest. For us Cherry season only lasts about 2-3 weeks. Sweet cherries can be ready as early as the second week of June, with harvest usually taking place near the middle of June and running into early July. Pie or tart cherries come the following week and as the name indicates are best made into delicious pies!
The middle of summer is all about the berries. Raspberries, Blueberries, and Blackberries are begining to ripen in summers second month. Raspberries can be harvested throughout the entire month of July. For additional info on setting up your very own easy to pick raspberry patch check out this article.
Blueberries are a family favorite and they are the next crop that can be picked all July and well into August. As with most of these fruits their harvest timelines depend on planting several varieties. To get more in depth info about extending the blueberry harvest take a look at this article.
Rounding out the mid-summer berry lineup is the Blackberry. Blackberries (another bramble with thorns similar to the raspberry) have a harvest season lasting about 3-4 weeks. In my area of the Northeast, Blackberries ripen in mid-July and harvested can be stretched into early August.
Late Summer and Fall
In the Northeast late summer and early fall mean spell stone and pome fruit season. Plums are the first late summer stone fruit to ripen in the Northeast. Plum season can begin as early as mid-July and go as long as the end of August. Peach picking season opens right after plum season begins. Peaches ripen starting in July and last into early September.
Next up in our fruit calendar are pears and apples. Pear season launches in August and can run thru September. Apples are the next pome fruit to add to the list. Apple picking, a common fall family activity starts in August and continues into October.
Rounding out the fall picking season are Grapes and Fall Raspberries. Both of which can be picked for nearly the entire month of September.
There you have it, we have spanned more than 6 months of the year and over a dozen different fruiting crops that you can grow, harvest, and enjoy throughout the year. If you live in the Northeast like I do this template should give you a nice framework to begin planning your backyard fruit production. Yes fruit trees will take a few years to bear. Planting trees with a nice mix of berry plants will get you to harvest time sooner, often producing a crop the year after establishment. Plan your backyard fruit production over the long winter, plant this coming spring, and enjoy the fruit for decades!
What does your fruit picking calendar look like? Have any fruit that I didn’t list? As always we would love to hear from you. Leave a message in the comments or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.