On a recent warm summer evening, Team Rubus held an informal taste-test of 8 red raspberries and 7 black raspberries harvested from the Sandhills Research Station in Jackson Springs, NC. The panelists were a group of plant breeders, their friends and family from North Carolina State University. This group of breeders were accustomed to evaluating crops, so it was informative to learn the various opinions on the genotypes, and to get feedback on our selection material and seedlings in comparison to commercial standards. In general, we found that most people remarked on the fact that “Red [raspberries] are not as seedy as black ones,” which can be attributed to the larger drupelet size and higher flesh:seed ratio in red raspberries.
Based on our panel, ‘Nantahala’, ‘Tulameen’, and the selection NC 344 were the red raspberry favorites, while seedlings 4-51, 4-82, and 5-19 were the favorites of the black raspberry crosses. Less popular was the red raspberry selection NC 548 and the black raspberry seedling 4-138 and commercial standard ‘Mac Black’. (See the attached table for complete panel results and comments on each genotype sampled.) As more of our trials develop across the state, we look forward to conducting more taste panels in order to see if environment has any effect on flavor of black and red raspberries grown in North Carolina.