Food Market brings news, talk and insight into the food business, from farms to supermarkets to restaurants. Reporters Mike Hughlett and Tom Meersman delve into the work of Minnesota’s food companies and issues such as food safety and labeling.

Not Just the Dairy State

Posted by: Tom Meersman Updated: July 28, 2014 - 9:31 AM

Wisconsin has again topped the nation as the largest cranberry producer.

A new production report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture indicates that Wisconsin cranberry growers set a new record by harvesting just over 6 million barrels of cranberries in 2013, a 25 percent increase above the 4.8 million barrels the previous year.

A barrel contains about 100 pounds of cranberries.

Gov. Scott Walker released the USDA figures and said Wisconsin produced 67 percent of the nation’s cranberries in 2013, and three times as much as Massachusetts, the second-largest cranberry producer.

According to a 2012 study by the University of Wisconsin-Madison, cranberries are grown on 21,000 acres across 20 counties in central and northern Wisconsin that support 3,400 jobs.  The economic impact was estimated at $300 million.

Cranberries are also grown commercially in New Jersey, Oregon and Washington.

About 95 percent of the crop is used for juice, according to the Wisconsin State Cranberry Growers Association. Sales have been flat in recent years, so the growers’ group is trying to create new markets globally.

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