Hot, Dry Weather Speeds Up Cranberry Growing Process
This cranberry season has been unique: it's been very dry and very hot, which is moving the growing process more quickly than normal.
"It's bloom right now. These flowers will turn into berries after they get pollinated. Pollination is a big deal for us. If there's no pollination there's no fruit."
And while you can find cranberry growers throughout central Wisconsin, many can be found in Wood County, including Glacial Lake Cranberries.
"What's nice about this area, west of Wisconsin Rapids, is that all of us out here we're all cranberry growers, so we're all in this together and we end up working on a lot of different projects together," said Stephen Brown, VP of Glacial Lake Cranberries.
Statewide, cranberries bring in nearly $1 billion each year. That compares to $45 billion from the dairy industry. As far as how the season is currently looking:
"We've got a long ways to go, and we'll truly know in November, once they're all in the barn," said Brown.
But a good-looking crop could quickly turn bad.
"One hail storm can really change the whole market in a quick hurry."
Cranberries are perennials, and that can be good and bad.
"You don't have to plant them every year, but it also means you gotta maintain them all year round, the wintertime especially. It's all about keeping track of what's going on and staying on top of the weather 365," said Brown.
But for now, it's nice to enjoy the beauty of the blossoms.
"It's always a funny time of year too where you look out and you see flowers, but those flowers have a long way to go before they turn into berries," said Brown, "I guess we're cranberry growers, but sometimes I want to be a florist, I want to sell the flowers instead!"