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Wisconsin cranberry crop meets a tight market

Wisconsin’s cranberry crop can be tough to predict and with price increases for all forms of cranberry, where those cranberries will land in the market is even tougher to put a finger on. Some growers are reporting a bumper crop of cranberries as compared to last year and the supplies look to be much needed.

“As a whole in the cranberry world, there is an undersupply. Historically with a bumper crop, you can end the year with an oversupply. However, the current market is very difficult to predict and it’s possible demand outweighs any surplus that might be out there,” says Kevin Tritz of Twin Lake Cranberry.

The undersupply comes due to the increased processing demand for cranberries--particularly for juice and dried sweetened cranberries. “It started accelerating when COVID hit and people were home and buying big bottles of juice. It doesn’t seem to have slowed down at this point,” says Tritz.

The season itself is later to start than usual given growers were waiting for color to develop. Harvest will run into November if needed. It’s also the second year for Twin Lake Cranberry, which packages its cranberries in either mesh packaging or poly, with organic cranberries. In addition, Twin Lake’s overall acreage on conventional cranberries expanded by 20 percent this season. “These beds take three years for fruit to get online but we have to keep planning ahead,” adds Tritz.

Fresh vs. processing demand
Meanwhile, he believes demand will continue to rise for the time being. “The economy will catch up eventually but probably not for this season,” Tritz says. Fresh cranberry demand also ebbs and flows with processing demand. “There are a number of people who, when the processing side is down, will jump into fresh and as that price on the processing side goes up, those same people will jump back out of fresh because fresh is a very demanding and work-intensive process.”

As for pricing, it is stronger than this time last year. “Pricing had to go up. Inputs on the growing side have gone up by more than we have seen in our lifetime. Fertilizers, fuel, H2A wages, electricity, etc. Those costs are unfortunately very real costs that need to be recognized to stay sustainable,” he finished.

For more information:
Kevin Tritz
Twin Lake Cranberry
Tel: +1 (715) 569-4595    

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