Preliminary estimates show there will be a lot less cranberries available this year. Tom Lochner of the Wisconsin State Cranberry Growers Association told Brownfield how the unusually wet and cool growing season took its toll on their crops, both locally and nationally. “We don’t have the final numbers yet, and we probably won’t have the official numbers until January, but what I’m hearing anecdotally from growers and handlers is that we’re off about 20% here in Wisconsin and the crop will fall probably somewhere between 430 and 450 million pounds of fruit.”
Lockner says a normal crop is about 550-million pounds a year, and it’s too soon to know if that 20% estimated drop will cause shortages or bring prices up. “We’ve seen some movement in the fresh fruit side, which is about three percent of the market, and that’s what people are seeing in the stores at this time of year, and our advice is if you want to have cranberries for Christmas, get them now because they might not be in the stores later on in the year.”
He says the industry diverted some cranberries under a marketing order with the 2017 and 2018 crop, but Mother Nature really surprised them this year.
Sixty-two percent of the nation’s cranberries come from Wisconsin, with Massachusetts, New Jersey, Oregon, and Washington rounding out the top five producing states.