Cape Cod Cranberry Growers’ Association (CCCGA) leadership attended last week’s Cranberry Marketing Committee (CMC) meeting where the committee announced its 2021 cranberry crop forecast for the United States. Massachusetts is the founder of cranberry cultivation, initiated on Cape Cod in 1816, and currently stands as the second-largest cranberry growing region in the country. The Commonwealth produces approximately 23 percent of the annual crop in the United States.
A vista of a wet cranberry harvest, often a sought after experience to witness by locals and tourists alike. Photo: Cape Cod Cranberry Growers' Association"
For Massachusetts, CMC is forecasting a crop of 1.9 million barrels (each barrel equals 100 pounds), up five percent from the Commonwealth’s 2020 harvest. Overall, CMC anticipates the national crop to yield about 8.1 million barrels, also an increase of five percent over last season.
Wet technique harvesting (seen here and photo below) utilizes large trailer trucks and customized industry equipment to collect and rinse cranberries before transport. Photo: Cape Cod Cranberry Growers' Association
“Similar to last year, our bogs are tracking to deliver a solid crop yield for Massachusetts growers, what I would consider an average crop for our region based on past performance,” said Brian Wick, CCCGA executive director.
“Although there is more than a month to go before harvest begins, Massachusetts cranberry growers are gearing up for a busy harvest season. Like every growing season, there are always ups and downs that growers experience as they nurture our native berry. Our region experienced a significant drought last year and some growers witnessed carryover negative effects from that situation that impacted the perennial vines this spring,” said Wick. “The growing season started slowly with a cold spring, which made our growers spend many nights protecting for frost impact. But June brought favorable weather for pollination, allowing our managed and native bees to do their work. The bloom period appeared longer than usual, possibly due to a late spring, resulting in a wet tail end of bloom. The continuous rain throughout much of the summer has impacted our growing region. In an age of weather extremes, our growers have persistently worked to keep the bogs dry--quite a change from last year’s drought. It remains to be seen if the prolonged rain and wet conditions will impact fruit quality this fall.”