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Cranberry Harvest Well Underway in Northern Wisconsin

Cranberry Harvest is in full swing across northern Wisconsin.

Pulling up to Lake Nokomis Cranberries you might not realize it all happens right there.

The first thing you see is the gift shop. That’s where I meet Dave Zawistowski and his son Mike.

“The big sellers are the cranberry salsa and cranberry barbeque sauce,” said Dave as he shows me around the shop. 

The gift shop is busy on Monday morning. Dave explained with Cranberry Fest canceled this year because of COVID-19 more people have been coming out the shop and taking marsh tours. 

Dave bought the cranberry farm in 1978.

“I came here in ’74 as a farm manager. They hired me. I was 18 years old,” said Dave.

It’s now a family business. Dave and two of his sons help run it.

After a quick tour of the shop, the father and son give a tour of the cranberry marsh right that’s right behind the gift shop.

It’s one of three they own. The others are in Stone Lake and Three Lakes. There’s about two weeks left of the harvest for Lake Nokomis Cranberries.

“On a good year we’ll do over 100,000 barrels. 110, 120,000 barrels. This is year is just going to be a fraction of that cause of the hard winter,” said Dave.  “The ground didn’t freeze. It thawed out underneath and I think it. I think the vines had a tendency to, they wanted to keep growing under there and they ran out of oxygen. They probably rotted basically underneath there.”  

What this year’s crop lacks in quantity, it makes up for in quality. Dave said the early cold temperatures helped give the cranberries a beautiful red color this year.

Cranberry Harvest is in full swing across northern Wisconsin.

Pulling up to Lake Nokomis Cranberries you might not realize it all happens right there.

The first thing you see is the gift shop. That’s where I meet Dave Zawistowski and his son Mike.

“The big sellers are the cranberry salsa and cranberry barbeque sauce,” said Dave as he shows me around the shop.

Dave bought the cranberry farm in 1978.

“I came here in ’74 as a farm manager. They hired me. I was 18 years old,” said Dave.

It’s now a family business. Dave and two of his sons help run it.

After a quick tour of the shop, the father and son give a tour of the cranberry marsh right that’s right behind the gift shop.

It’s one of three they own. The others are in Stone Lake and Three Lakes. There’s about two weeks left of the harvest for Lake Nokomis Cranberries.

“On a good year we’ll do over 100,000 barrels. 110, 120,000 barrels. This is year is just going to be a fraction of that cause of the hard winter,” said Dave.  “The ground didn’t freeze. It thawed out underneath and I think it. I think the vines had a tendency to, they wanted to keep growing under there and they ran out of oxygen. They probably rotted basically underneath there.”  

What this year’s crop lacks in quantity, it makes up for in quality. Dave said the early cold temperatures helped give the cranberries a beautiful red color this year.

While most people only see the work cranberry farmers put in this time of year, Mike says there’s always work to be done.

“It’s a lot of work. We’re not done with harvest and we’re over. There’s always something done and going on in the winter,” said Mike.

Wisconsin is the number one cranberry producer in the United States. In 2018, farmers in the state produced more than 5.9 million barrels of cranberries.

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