How are cranberries harvested? - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

How are cranberries harvested?


This year's cranberry harvest in Wisconsin is expected to bring hundreds of millions of dollars. Our state leads the county in cranberry production.

But how do the berries get from the farm to your home? Newsline 9 found out.

Bogs can grow thousands of cranberries. But it's quite the journey to get there from there to your home.

Members of the Pittsville High School FFA took us along for the ride.

"This year, because we had such an early spring, the harvest came early too," Pittsville high schooler Olie Boight said.

The cranberry buds usually start to flower in late June. But this year, because of the unusual weather, that happened early.

Once the cranberries are primed to be picked, a machine runs through the marsh to knock all the berries off the vines. That's when the bog is flooded with water so all the berries float to the top.

The cranberries float because they have a small pocket of air inside. Farmers pool a rope around them, corralling the fruit together.

"A suction takes the cranberries and sucks them up, separates the waste and the cranberries--waste in one, cranberries in another," Boight.

From there, the cranberries head to cleaning.

"It will take it up and separate the good berries and bad berries," Boight said.

Bad berries are ones that have been smashed in the process. The cranberries are boxed and then taken to the freezer.

Cranberry growers say only about five percent of Wisconsin's crop will be fresh fruit. The rest will eventually be dried or used in juice.

Whatever the result, it's quite the process.

Cranberries did fairly well this year, despite the drought. Experts say that's because cranberries mostly rely on irrigation, not rain.

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