It’s a great year for cranberries in NJ
It is cranberry harvest season in the Garden State, and growers are bringing the berries in from the bogs.
State Agriculture Secretary Doug Fisher noted New Jersey stands "mighty high" in cranberry production, third in the nation, according to the USDA. And he said mother nature has helped with this year's crop.
"The weather has been good for us for cranberries. We are producing on 3,000 acres in the state, and some of the most productive bogs in the country." Fisher said. He calls New Jersey a, "powerhouse" in the cranberry market.
According to Fisher, OceanSpray is New Jersey's largest co-op cranberry contractor.
"Obviously, it manifests and multiplies itself in many ways, the 'value-added' we have with our cranberry sauce, cranberry juices and so many other things that have cranberries in them," he said.
Nicholi Versa is Director of the Phillip E. Marucci Center for Blueberry and Cranberry Research at Rutgers, located in Chatsworth. He said for Jersey's economy, annual cranberry production rings up between $25 and $40 million dollars a year.
"Typically, it varies of course with the crop and the prices of the berries," Versa said.
Versa said the majority of the New Jersey growers are members of the OceanSpray Cooperative.
"The berries are harvested, they are brought to the receiving station here in Chatsworth," Versa said. "They are cleaned and then they are frozen and shipped, and they get transferred up to Massachusetts to be processed either into sweet and dried cranberries, or what most people are familiar with (as) the term 'crazins,' or concentrate for juice."
Versa said the major cranberry cultivars that are being grown today all originated in New Jersey from previous breeding programs and the current one at Rutgers.
Wisconsin is the nation's No. 1 cranberry producer. According to Fisher, "We are the southernmost place in the country for cranberries. Wisconsin is the, 'big dog,' Massachusetts, and then us."
Joe Cutter is the afternoon news anchor on New Jersey 101.5