Did you know that the cranberry is Wisconsin’s state fruit? It was made official in 2004 and Wisconsin produces more than 60% of the nation’s cranberries, making Wisconsin the #1 producer in the world! Families all across the state are now the fifth and sixth generations of entering cranberry growers, and are excited to keep growing this thriving fruit at home in Wisconsin!
Wisconsin has led the nation in cranberry production for 27 consecutive years. It’s true! Since the 1830’s, cranberry marshes have been in Wisconsin (yes, before Wisconsin was even a state!) and today, Wisconsin cranberries are harvested on approximately 21,000 acres across 20 of Wisconsin’s 72 counties.
The cranberry was originally referred to as ‘crane berries’ by early European settlers. Why? Because the flowers of the plant resemble the head and neck of a sandhill crane. Additionally, the first to use cranberries for food were the Native Americans!
Fun fact: cranberries don’t actually grow in water. The cranberry beds are dry 11 months out of the year and are only flooded in the winter for frost protection and during the harvest.
Wisconsin cranberries are the state's number one fruit crop and account for more than 60% of the country’s supply. But it doesn’t stop there! More than half of the entire world’s supply of cranberries is grown right here in Wisconsin. This generates more than $1 billion in state economic impact and provides thousands of local jobs!
Fun fact: cranberries aren’t always red. They start out white, but as they ripen they transform into a deep red.
When you eat locally-grown Wisconsin cranberries, you can rest assured that you are adding a healthy addition to your meal, or a nutritious snack. Wisconsin cranberries are fat-free, cholesterol-free, and packed with antioxidants and nutrients! These powerful and healthy treats are a great and healthy, low-calorie snack that can also play a role in promoting heart, gut, and urinary tract health. Learn more about the health benefits of cranberries from the Cranberry Institute!
Fun fact: according to the Wisconsin Cranberry Growers, it takes roughly 4,400 cranberries to make a gallon of juice!
There is no better time to experience the cranberry harvest in Wisconsin than in the fall! Harvest begins in late September and runs through most of October, which is perfect for a fun fall activity outdoors. The best part? Experience the deep red sea of cranberries and fall colors all at once! Whether you want to head out to a cranberry festival, get a personal tour, or just drive around from the comfort of your car…you can be sure to find a fun fall experience! Plan your experience with: Cranberry Marsh Tours, Cranberry Festivals, Cranberry Museum, or the Cranberry Highway.
Fun fact: the cranberry is a perennial crop meaning they are planted one time and last for quite a bit of time!
As you can see, Wisconsin’s state fruit is really something you don’t want to miss out on! Whether you’re wanting to learn more or experience it for yourself, there is always something for you to check out. Plus, you can learn more by watching our newest digital short, ‘Why Wisconsin Cranberry Country is #1 in the World’ and let us know in the comments below what you find most interesting about the state fruit!
About Cranberry Growers: The Wisconsin State Cranberry Growers Association (WSCGA) is a member-based organization designed to cultivate Wisconsin’s cranberry industry and support its growers through useful educational resources, responsible environmental stewardship, sound governmental policies and effective public communications.
Kortnee Hass: Digital Media Associate for Discover Mediaworks. A Wisconsin ‘now & forever’ transplant with a soft spot for squeaky cheese curds, craft breweries, and all things Wisconsin tourism.