Cranberries are traditionally red and sometimes white – but this week, those grown for Ocean Spray in BC and elsewhere were verified as green.
“The cooperative has received a verification that 100% of the cranberries from its farmer-owners qualify as sustainably grown using the Sustainable Agriculture Initiative Platform’s Farm Sustainability Assessment,” the Massachusetts-based cooperative announced.
The assessment defines sustainable farming as “the efficient production of safe, high quality agricultural products in a way that protects and improves the natural environment, the social and economic conditions of farmers and their communities, and safeguards the health and welfare of all farmed species.”
The verification process examined practices at “a representative number” of Ocean Spray’s farms against a set of 112 questions. The criteria are reflected in many of the practices employed on BC farms, according to Ocean Spray.
These include sophisticated irrigation systems that employ soil moisture and temperature monitoring to ensure water gets to the plants in just the right quantities to feed them and provide protection from frost and sunburn damage.
Some growers power their irrigation systems using solar power, harnessing renewable energy for crop production.
Many growers have also employed laser levelling in preparing sites for cranberry production, creating a better environment for their berries and further reducing water requirements.
BC cranberry production has benefitted from the BC Cranberry Research Farm in Delta, established in 2012. BC produced 631,045 barrels of cranberries in 2019, most of which is sold to Ocean Spray.