Quality over quantity expected for this year's cranberry crop

By Lydia Goerner | Sep 12, 2017
Photo by: Carolyn Bick Local cranberry growers anticipate harvesting the crop a few weeks early than usual this year due to the cool nights Wareham has had lately.

The forecast is here for this year’s cranberry crop, predicting cranberry production will be down 4 percent in Massachusetts from last year, though local growers say the quality of the crop will be exceptionally good.

Cranberries prefer heat, sun, temperatures not exceeding 95 degrees and a moderate drought, said Peter Beaton, president of Cranberry Grower's Services in Wareham. This year there was enough water to keep the cranberries happy, but the cool, cloudy weather Wareham has seen this summer made it difficult to have the most productive crop possible.

Beaton has noticed the cranberries are smaller in size this year due to the lack of sunlight. The recent cool nights in the area have caused the cranberries to start to turn red early, which also puts a constraint on their size.

“It’s still overall going to be a good crop,” said Brian Wick, executive director of the Cape Cod Cranberry Growers’ Association. Wick agreed that the cool, wet summer is probably a factor in a smaller harvest this year. He said August was more dry and more rain would have benefited the crop, but it was “nothing earth-shattering.”

According to a USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service report, Massachusetts is expecting a crop of 2,200,000 barrels this year. Overall, the United States cranberry crop is projected to be down 2 percent from last year.

Beaton said he will be able to harvest the cranberries early since they turned red early. Normally, he harvests the last week of September, but this year he anticipates starting the second week of September.

The cranberries are high-quality this year, and Beaton said he would prefer a smaller crop with better quality.

“This is one of the better seasons I’ve seen for quality of the fruit,” Beaton said.

The world’s largest cranberry grower, Wareham-based A.D. Makepeace Co., said it’s too soon for them to speculate on this year’s crop

“We typically don’t like to make predictions until the harvest has at least begun in mid-September,” said vice president of marketing and communication Linda Burke.

In the meantime, the company will keep an eye on the weather.

“We’re hoping for some rain and cool nights between now and then,” said Burke.

Massachusetts is the second in cranberry growing production in the country at around 22 percent, outranked only by Wisconsin, which produces 60 percent of cranberries grown in the country.

“We’re excited harvest season is here,” Wick said. “Hopefully people will be able to get out there and see the crop.”

Comments (1)
Posted by: noseyrich | Sep 13, 2017 23:35

Berry Interesting!

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