The raspberry is among the most valuable food sources for scores of species of birds and small mammals. Fortunately, the thorny canes have prevented a big mammal, deer, from decimating the plants, which favor the same wood edges that deer do.
Roadside berries are free for the picking, and considering the prices that even rural farm stands are charging – $3.50 a half pint at one in northern Vermont on Sunday, it’s a sweet treat that’s well worth the effort as well as a few scratches.
What’s more, they are good for us – really good. Raspberries are rich in antioxidants that promote healthy hearts. They have lots of vitamins A, B1, 2 and 3, and C, plus calcium, iron, and potassium. And because each berry is a cluster of tiny berries or “drupelets,” the raspberry has lots of skin, which is full of fiber – up to one-fifth of the berry’s weight – making it among the most fiber-filled fruits in North America.