Explore who is growing cranberries in the U.S., and more.
Chances are, cranberries are a part of your holiday celebrations. A substantial chunk of the U.S.’s cranberry supply—20 percent, according to a Modern Farmer article—is sold in the week leading up to Thanksgiving and the berry’s appeal lasts through the holidays and beyond. Find out which regions are growing cranberries, the state of the cranberry industry, and suggestions for using the healthful, tart berry for both the holidays and year-round.
Who’s Growing Cranberries
According to the Ag Marketing Resource Center, there are five states growing cranberries that are responsible for the majority of the U.S.’s cranberry harvest. Wisconsin leads the pack, growing 60 percent of the nation’s cranberries. Other top states growing cranberries include Massachusetts, New Jersey, Oregon, and Washington.
Ocean Spray, a long-time grower-owned cooperative representing approximately 600 growers in the U.S. and Canada, purchases nearly 80 percent of the nation’s raw cranberry supply for processed cranberries and juice.
The Cranberry Market
In the 2014 cranberry season, 40,600 acres were harvested to add up to 840 million pounds, for a total value of $254.41 million pounds. Cranberries are rich in vitamins and nutrients, especially proanthocyanidin antioxidants, which give cranberries their color. As such, the U.S. consumes approximately 400 million pounds of cranberries every year.
However, the cranberry industry has continued to grow at such a fast pace, and farmers growing cranberries have had bumper crops, year after year, that the industry has outpaced demand, according to the Modern Farmer article. At this point, cranberry growers could harvest zero cranberries for the 2017 season, and there would still be enough cranberries in storage to meet the annual demand.
To correct the issue, the Cranberry Marketing Order is calling for a serious reduction in production; the harvest for 2018 would only be about 75 percent of demand. The USDA is considering the approval of the changes, which would mean a huge decrease in production for many cranberry farmers.
Using Cranberries in Everyday Food & Drink
Cranberries have all the same nutrients as other superfoods, such as blueberries. However, their sour flavor means cranberries are usually combined with sugar for a more palatable flavor, especially in juices.
Cranberries are finding their way into everyday fare apart from holiday foods. You can use them as a garnish on everything from salad to meats on the grill. They are also good for adding a sour kick when mixed with other berries in smoothies and even jams and jellies.