Wisconsin is the country’s number one producer of cranberries. At Brockway Marsh, in Black River Falls, crews are working to harvest 90 acres of the fruit.
Jim Bible from Brockway Cranberry Inc. has taken to the marsh to grow Wisconsin’s state fruit: “Today is a great cranberry weather day I always say at harvests we like a lot of wind, water, and berries. I really enjoy it and have a passion for it. This year’s crop is looking to be about average. The first thing we do is what we call our beds, we put water in the bed to make cranberries float and the reason the cranberries float is they have four little air pockets inside of them.”
“Then we go in with a machine and dislodge the berries so they all pop to the top of the water and then we put more water in the bed to really raise them up so they can float freely. As you can see behind me it’s a windy day today, we use our boom to get them corralled to one end and then we use our fruit pump to suck them out clean them off. Then we elevate them into our semi-trailers, and we go down to the ocean spray receiving plant,” said Bible, who is one of about 250 cranberry growers across the state.
Isaac Zarecki, Wisconsin State Cranberry Grower’s Association said: “We make up more than half the world’s cranberries. It is a billion-dollar industry for the state. This is the basin of ancient glacial lake Wisconsin. It is very flat good for water management also sandy well-drained acidic soils, which is perfect for cranberries. They are actually native to North America, so it is ideal for them.”
Cranberries are also crucial to the state’s economy.