BC’s cranberry harvest kicked off September 23 with Lower Mainland growers harvesting the first of this year’s crop.
“Harvest is on target with quality and quantity,” says Kalpna Solanki, chair of the BC Cranberry Marketing Commission.
The commission reports that a cool, wet spring delayed this year’s harvest by more than a week. The harvest last year began September 15.
Some growers also expect lower yields due to the effects of cold weather in 2021 that caused irreversible damage to plants as well as poor pollination on account of unfavourable spring weather.
“We are expecting an average crop year,” the commission says.
According to Statistics Canada, BC produced 50,639 tons, or more than a million barrels of cranberries in 2021. The average for the latest five years was 47,801 tons or 956,000 barrels.
The average yield last year was 221 barrels per acre.
BC has approximately 81 growers farming 6,374 acres of cranberries, primarily in the Lower Mainland but also on Vancouver Island.
With less than two weeks until Thanksgiving, the first berries are destined for the fresh market. There are five grower-vendors licensed to sell fresh cranberries in BC, down from seven last year.
Cranberries bound for processing come off the first week of October. The majority of BC berries are processed by Ocean Spray, producer of the sweetened dried fruit known as Craisins as well as sauces and juices.
With files from Ronda Payne