Skip to comments.Cranberries plentiful for Thanksgiving but maybe not Christmas
Posted on 11/23/2005 3:21:45 PM PST by SJackson
WAUSAU, Wis. -- Families planning a big Thanksgiving Day meal had no trouble finding fresh cranberries to complement the feast, but that may not be true for the Christmas holidays, say growers of the bright red, tart and tangy fruit.
"Buy two, freeze one. The old motto," said Tom Lochner, executive director of the Wisconsin State Cranberry Growers Association, referring to bags of fresh cranberries now plentiful on grocery shelves.
Wisconsin, the nation's leading cranberry-producing state, harvested an average crop this fall, but yields were down in Massachusetts and Washington, leading to concerns of tighter fresh fruit supplies next month, particularly in areas outside the Midwest, Lochner said.
Ray Habelman Sr., co-owner of Habelman Brothers Co., which grows 650 acres of cranberries near Tomah, all for fresh markets, said demand for his crop was up in areas outside of Wisconsin.
"There could possibly be a shortage for the Christmas holidays," he said.
About 25 percent of the consumption of fresh cranberries, sauces and juices in the United States takes place between Thanksgiving and Christmas, according to Lochner.
Dan Servi, 53, of Wausau, said he and his wife would have cranberries with their Thanksgiving meal, but not the fresh ones. They preferred jelled cranberries from a can.
"The fresh ones are more bitter. The jelled ones are sweeter," Servi said. "It's like dessert while you are eating. Throw away the apple pie. I will eat the cranberries."
More than 90 percent of Thanksgiving dinners include cranberry sauce, according to Ocean Spray, an agricultural cooperative formed 75 years ago by three cranberry growers and now North America's leading producer of canned and bottled juices and juice drinks.
Consumers eat nearly 11 billion cranberries each holiday season, Ocean Spray said.
About 45,000 acres of cranberries are grown each year in the United States, primarily in Wisconsin, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Washington and Oregon.
Wisconsin's 250 growers harvested about 3.3 million barrels of cranberries, about the same as a year ago but about 10 percent below some early projections that proved too optimistic, Lochner said. A barrel is 100 pounds.
"We had a real good bloom in June and July, the fruit set well and sized up early. Those factors had people thinking it was going to be a little bit bigger than it was. It was still a good crop," he said.
Prices for the fruit have rebounded from $8 to $12 a barrel a few years ago to $25 to $30 a barrel. They are still far below the $65 average of 1998, Lochner said.
"I think generally growers are in pretty good spirits," he said.
Nodji VanWychen, co-owner of Wetherby Cranberry Co. in Warrens, said her farm harvested an average crop of good quality.
"I guess that's all we can expect," she said. "We did have difficulty on color on the fruit this year because we didn't have any cold evenings in the month of September, which starts the cycle of turning red."
Supplies of fresh cranberries are tighter because the industry lost Northland Cranberries of Wisconsin Rapids, one of the larger processors, VanWychen said.
But planners of holiday feasts need not fret too much, the grower said.
"If you are not able to find the fresh fruit, there's lots of variety of cranberry products that are made that can be easily used at the holidays," she said.
Ya'll can have my share.
Lemme guess: "Uncle Teddy" crashed his yacht into the cranberry bogs, eh?
I just cooked everything I bought....
I am the only one in the family who likes the fresh ones. Everyone else likes the jellied from a can.
Listen to the cranberry growers, buy more. They know you won't but them in January.
Not to worry in our household...wife went out and bought a couple more cans...before checking in the cupboard..where there was already 4 cans....anybody that runs out...holler!!
Try boiling them with sugar and pineapple. Not the same, I know, but more acceptable.
I think this is an attempt by "Big Cranberry" to drive up prices by Christmas.
That's exactly what I thought when I read this. There'll be cranberries on the shelves in February, and the price will be down. What we need is an excess profits tax on cranberries, before this gets out of hand.
Oh great! Now they're gonna hit us in the sauce with cranberry price-gouging. Probably making windFALL profits.
No kidding, mine too.
Personally I can't stand cranberry sauce - but the hubby and the child love it, so I said I would make fresh cranberry/orange relish tomorrow...........I've got all the ingredients - but can't find the danged recipe :(
Go to the Food Network or Recipes.com
I've got recipes.com openning as I post :) But since I haven't made it in years, I doubt I have it in my recipe box there or at Epicurious.
I'm with you on that... all my turkey needs is gravy... lots of gravy!
A friend of mine had a urinary track infection. To get rid of it she ate a can of cranberry sauce. The next day she was better and did not have to go to the doctor. Those cranberries are pretty amazing.
Cranberry Juice works just as well.
Good luck with your recipe.
Tap ths strategic cranberry reserve.
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