Can Cranberries Conquer The World? A US Industry Depends On It

By Michael Carolan, Colorado State University

Name all the billion-dollar crops grown in the U.S. Midwest. The answer: Corn, soybeans and cranberries. Wait, what?

Roughly 60 percent of the U.S. cranberry crop is produced in Wisconsin, generating close to US$1 billion in revenue and 4,000 jobs. Other top-producing states include Massachusetts, New Jersey, Oregon and Washington. Overall, cranberries are almost exclusively North American. Roughly 85 percent are grown in the United States and Canada, with the rest scattered across Chile, Western Europe and a few former Soviet republics.

But although many Americans see cranberries as a staple for Thanksgiving and Christmas, we associate them mainly with the winter holidays – unlike, say, mashed potatoes and gravy. That’s a problem for the cranberry business, which faces an uncertain future as supply wildly outstrips demand. The industry is working to boost demand for cranberry products at home and expand new export markets


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