With the holidays just around the corner, we might as well talk about Wisconsin’s official state fruit. As the nation’s leading producer of cranberries, we harvest more than 60% of the country’s crop right here in our home state. Growing across 20 counties in Wisconsin, the 21,000 acres of sand and peat marshes in both Central and Northern Wisconsin create the perfect growing conditions for those little red berries.
The cranberry was once called “crane berry” by early European settlers as the fruit blossoms resembled the head and neck of the sandhill crane. They were first harvested around 1860 by Edward Sacket in Berlin, Wisconsin. These days, more than 250 farmers produce cranberries throughout Central and Northern Wisconsin.
Contrary to popular belief, cranberries don’t actually grow in water, as they’re a perennial plant. Cranberries grow on low running vines in sandy bogs and marshes. Each harvest season, farmers will flood the marshes and bogs with water to aid in the harvesting. These tart, tiny berries contain a pocket of air, so when the marshes are flooded the berries float up to the surface! That makes it much easier to harvest every year from late September through October.
So, with the holidays right around the corner, grab yourself some Ocean Spray Cranberry Juice from The Store, or maybe treat yourself to a Kind Bar or two while you enjoy your autumn with friends and family.
If you want to check out more about our great state’s fruit, check out this link!