Farmers in North Carolina have a new online resource to help them grow their blackberry and raspberry operations.
The Blackberry & Raspberry Growers Information Portal  was launched recently by N.C. MarketReady, a program of North Carolina State University, with a grant from the North Carolina Tobacco Trust Fund Commission.
N.C. MarketReady developed the Blackberry & Raspberry Growers Information Portal as a one-stop shop to bring together on one Web site all the resources pertaining to business management and production of blackberries and raspberries in North Carolina. Farmers, North Carolina Cooperative Extension agents and home gardeners can find research-based information specific to North Carolina blackberry and raspberry production on the site. A selection of available resource topics includes marketing, food safety, integrated pest management, industry events and risk management.
New growers will find resources specific to business start-up. Home gardeners can learn the berry basics. All growers will recognize the convenience of the weather and climate links. The portal can be accessed by visiting N.C. MarketReady online at www.ncmarketready.org  and clicking the tab on the left menu bar.
The Blackberry & Raspberry Growers Information Portal is a compilation of materials developed by multiple departments, programs and organizations associated with North Carolina State University, as well as from other academic and agricultural sources.
The goal in designing information portals is to save growers and Extension agents time and effort by creating a one-stop shop for a specific agricultural commodity; in this case, blackberries and raspberries. The two fruits are combined because both crops are “brambles” and produced similarly. Development of portals for other crops, including tomatoes, is under way.
N.C. MarketReady, formerly known as the Program for Value-Added & Alternative Agriculture, is a program of North Carolina Cooperative Extension, which is an educational outreach of North Carolina State University and North Carolina A&T State University.
N.C. MarketReady’s multi-disciplinary team builds partnerships and educational resources to help North Carolina agriculture be more profitable. N.C. MarketReady is a partner of the Plants for Human Health Institute at the North Carolina Research Campus in Kannapolis.