It’s a potentially record-breaking cranberry season in WisconsinWisconsin cranberry growers could be on their way to producing the most cranberries on record this season.
By: Maureen McCollum, Wisconsin Public Radio, Superior Telegram
Wisconsin cranberry growers could be on their way to producing the most cranberries on record this season.
This year’s weather has been great for cranberry producers. James Lake Farms owner John Stauner is the secretary of the Wisconsin State Cranberry Growers Association. He says on top of this season’s healthy, fruitful vines, the current heat wave has helped each, individual cranberry grow.
“The summer heat is very important for that process,” says Stauner. “Once we get into September, we’ll have some cooler nights that will aid in the ripening of the fruit.”
Like many farmers, Stauner remains cautiously optimistic about the weather. If severe storms and hail hold off, the U.S. Department of Agriculture predicts Wisconsin could produce a record 4.9 million barrels of cranberries this year. That would secure Wisconsin’s spot as the number-one cranberry producer in the country.
But there’s already surplus of cranberries in storage. Wisconsin State Cranberry Growers Association executive director Tom Lochner says domestic and international cranberry sales have remained flat. He says cranberry prices are low, which means farmers are seeing less returns on their crop.
“Consumers have seen the benefits of the price reduction in terms of cranberry products on the store shelves,” says Lochner. “They’ve been discounted and the prices are down.”
Lochner says to move the surplus and this year’s harvest, the cranberry industry will put a greater emphasis on marketing. He says they’re focused on selling more cranberries to China and India and are exploring opening new markets in Russia and Brazil.