Near-record cranberry crop expected for 2011 - The Packer

Near-record cranberry crop expected for 2011

08/17/2011 10:04:00 AM
Andy Nelson

About 7.5 million barrels of cranberries will be shipped by U.S. growers in 2011, the second-biggest crop on record.

Production is scheduled to be up 10% from 2010, according to the Aug. 16 Cranberries report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service.

More cranberries should ship from Massachusetts, Oregon, Washington and Wisconsin. Among major producing states, only New Jersey is expected to ship fewer berries.

Industry leader Wisconsin is slated to ship 4.3 million barrels, Massachusetts 2.1 million barrels, New Jersey 540,000 barrels, Oregon 385,000 barrels and Washington 173,000 barrels.

Bob Wilson, managing member of The Cranberry Network LLC, Wisconsin Rapids, Wis., expected the Wisconsin harvest to begin about Sept. 16, with shipments hitting stores the following week.

In late June, the season was running about three weeks behind schedule, Wilson said. Then came July.

“We had plenty of heat and sunshine, and we caught up,” he said. “I’m cautiously optimistic that we’ll have spot-on size, coloring and availability.”

Wisconsin growers have had plenty of moisture this summer, but nothing like the deluges of 2010 that cause widespread rot, Wilson said.

“We get the sense it will be a very solid year.”

Similarly positive news was coming out of Massachusetts, said John Decas, chairman of the board of Wareham, Mass.-based Decas Bros. Sales Co. Inc.

“It’s going to be a good-size crop with good quality,” he said.

The question is, how much of that extra fruit will go to the fresh market, Decas said. Typically about 300,000 barrels are marketed fresh.

“We’ve done some things to improve our capacity,” Decas said.



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