Wisconsin cranberry facts

Badger State Fruit Processing Plant in Pittsville, Wis., produces an annual harvest of 200 million pounds of cranberries. Wisconsin is the world's largest producer of cranberries, representing 52 percent of the world's cranberry harvests.

Following are some facts from the Wisconsin State Cranberry Growers Association about Wisconsin cranberries:

  • Cranberries were first harvested in Wisconsin around 1860 by Edward Sacket in Berlin, Wis.
  • Wisconsin cranberry growers annually harvest enough cranberries to supply every person in the world with 26 cranberries.
  • Cranberry exports have increased from less than 10 percent of Wisconsin's crop to nearly 33 percent just during the past decade.
  • The cranberry was declared Wisconsin's official state fruit in 2004.
  • Cranberries are ingredients in about 1,000 food and beverage products on the market, and only 5 percent of Wisconsin's cranberry crop is sold as fresh berries.
  • The average age of cranberry beds in Wisconsin is 39 years, with the oldest bed reportedly planted 138 years ago.
  • Contrary to popular belief, cranberries do not grow in water; they grow on low running vines in sandy bogs and marshes. Because cranberries float, Wisconsin marshes are flooded when the fruit is ready for harvesting.
  • Europeans named the fruit "crane berry" because they thought the cranberry blossom resembled the head of a sandhill crane.

This Web exclusive information is a supplement to Close-up.