Warm weather didn't bog down cranberry growers - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Warm weather didn't bog down cranberry growers


WISCONSIN RAPIDS (WAOW) -- Four million, that's how many barrels of cranberries Wisconsin produced last year.  

"That would be about 75-80 semi loads full of cranberries," Owner of Elm Lake Cranberry, Mike Moss said.

40,000 of those barrels came from his bog in Wisconsin Rapids. 

"You're always trying to do the best you can," Moss explained.

Moss says, last year Wisconsin grew almost 60% of the cranberry crop for the entire United States. That makes it the largest producer in the country. And sets records for local growers.

"Mother Nature gives you so much to work with and it's a matter of not screwing it up," Moss said.

Well, Mother Nature delivered last year. A hot summer and warm fall graced the bogs in Wisconsin, creating the perfect conditions to help them flourish.

"We had enough heat under the bogs after blossom to help them grow from July, August, and September," Moss explained.

But not all farmers came out ahead. Last year the crop grew faster than the demand, causing the price of cranberries to fall and leaving some with more crop than profit.

"There is short term and long term cycles with excess and shortages," Moss explains. "It's all a matter of balancing it out, supply and demand."

But, contrary to popular belief cranberries do not grow in water. Instead, they grow on low-lying vines in sandy bogs, and marshes.

Right now, cranberries have already started growing. As Moss takes a look around his 150 acres of cranberry bogs, he points to almost all of them that have started to bud.

"Oh they've started all right," he says. "There is no going back now."

And while he is optimistic, he knows ultimately, the fate of the bogs is in the hands of Mother Nature.

"We'll wait and see. That's farming," he says. 

But with numbers like last year, it's little wonder cranberries are the official state fruit.

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