State Agriculture Officials Project 2013 Cranberry Crop to Be Plentiful
BOSTON – Wednesday, October 9, 2013 –The Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources (DAR) announced today that it expects a bountiful crop of 2.1 million barrels of cranberries in 2013. Cranberries represent the largest fruit crop grown in the state, and Massachusetts is the second largest cranberry-producing state in the country, behind Wisconsin.
There are a number of Massachusetts cranberry farms offering opportunities for the public to take part in their own personal cranberry adventure. Visitors are given the rare chance to see the bog, harvest and purchase berries and products.
“Visiting a cranberry bog during harvest is a wonderful way to be immersed in local agriculture and experience the rich bounty that Massachusetts has to offer,” said DAR Commissioner Greg Watson. “Every time I talk to cranberry farmers, I’m more and more impressed with the diversification of their products as well as the technological advances they are employing to stay competitive on the world stage.”
Last year’s crop included over 2.12 million barrels of cranberries harvested, the third largest harvest in state history, and worth over $99 million. Fresh from the bog, cranberries are available from September to November, but can also be enjoyed frozen or dried all year round.
“Harvest is in full swing, so look out for some beautiful red berries in stores very soon,” said Paul Kindinger, Executive Director of the Cape Cod Growers Association.
Edgewood Bogs in Carver, now operated by the fourth generation of the Rhodes' family, operates 200 acres of bogs and sells their cranberries internationally thanks to support from USDA’s Food Export initiative. Edgewood Bogs also focuses on sustainability and has implemented an extensive ground mount photo-voltaic system to power irrigation pumps and production facilities funded from the DAR Agricultural Energy Grant Program (Ag-Energy) over the past two years. They have also significantly reduced water waste and farming runoff by installing an irrigation system and containment units, using funds granted from DAR’s Agricultural Environmental Enhancement Program (AEEP) over the past 11 years.
“We have renovated more than 75 percent of our bogs over the past several years by putting in new hybrid varieties,” said Cindy Rhodes, Financial Manager of Edgewood Bogs. “This provides greater yields with fewer inputs and generates a substantial cost savings to run our entire operation with greater efficiency.”
Many farmers host tours, seasonal cranberry events and celebrations. You can find cranberry bogs to visit and pick your own fruit at http://www.mass.gov/agr/massgrown/index.htm.
The cranberry is a nutritional and antibacterial powerhouse super fruit. Cranberries have been used by Native Americans for centuries to treat a variety of ailments from diabetes to liver problems and most commonly for urinary tract infections. Cranberries are high in vitamin C, vitamin K, manganese and fiber. They contain compounds called phytochemicals and antioxidants which protect the body’s cells from damage which can lead to disease. The cranberry’s antioxidants can reduce LDL (bad cholesterol) oxidation and thus defend against atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries) and heart disease.
Studies also suggest that cranberries have the ability to protect the brain from damage and reduce cognitive decline. According to the Cranberry and Human Health Research Review and the Cranberry Institute, all product forms of cranberry provide the same health benefits. In order to maximize the benefits of cranberry consumption, the following daily doses of cranberry are suggested; one 8oz serving of 27 percent cranberry juice; quarter cup of fresh cranberries; third cup of dried cranberries; or quarter cup cranberry sauce.
The Cape Cod Cranberry Growers’ Association (CCCGA) provides more information about cranberries including suggestions that help make them a part of your daily routine. Make today a holiday by incorporating them into your mealtime repertoire with recipes like Cranberry Avocado Salsa, and Grilled Portabella Mushrooms Stuffed with Cranberry & Sausage Stuffing.
DAR's mission is to ensure the long-term viability of agriculture in Massachusetts. Through its four divisions - Agricultural Conservation & Technical Assistance, Agricultural Markets, Animal Health, and Crop and Pest Services - DAR strives to support, regulate and enhance the rich diversity of the Commonwealth's agricultural community to promote economically and environmentally sound food safety and animal health measures, and fulfill agriculture's role in energy conservation and production. For more information, visit DAR's website at www.mass.gov/agr, and/or follow at twitter.com/MDARcommish.