When is the harvest?
Every autumn, (usually from mid-September until around mid-November in North America and March through May in Chile), cranberries reach their peak of colour and flavour and are ready for harvesting. That's when our farmers harvest millions of kilos of cranberries. It's really quite a beautiful sight.
What's a wetland?
It’s an area of soft, wet ground with acid peat soil, usually near rivers or lakes where the cranberries grow on long-running vines. You can find them all over North and South America, from Massachusetts to New Jersey, Oregon to Washington, Wisconsin, parts of British Columbia and Quebec, and Chile.
What is wet harvesting?
A lot of people think that cranberries grow under water because they usually see the berries floating on top of the water. But, what you are seeing is actually part of the wet harvesting process. The wetland is flooded with up to 45cm of water the night before the berries are to be harvested. The farmers then use water reels, nicknamed “eggbeaters,” to churn the water and loosen the cranberries from the vine. Each berry has four tiny airpockets, which allow the fruit to float to the surface for collection. They are then gathered together and sucked through large hoses into trucks, and shipped off to become the Ocean Spray® products that you love.
What is dry harvesting?
Fresh cranberries are the ones you can buy in the fruit and vegetable aisle in the autumn or in winter for Christmas. They are harvested using the dry method. It's the best way to get the absolute freshest of berries. For this, cranberry farmers use a mechanical picker that looks like a large lawnmower. It has metal teeth that comb the berries off the vine and drops them gently in a hessian sack at the back of the machine. Helicopters are sometimes used to transport the sacks to protect the vines from being jostled in the traffic of heavy trucks.