Cranberry forecast looks strong for Massachusetts

Aug 30, 2022

Even after a weekslong drought, this year’s state cranberry crop is projected to be up 19% from Massachusetts’ 2021 harvest, according to the 2022 U.S. cranberry crop forecast.

The Cranberry Marketing Committee, a national agricultural organization, forecasts a crop of 1.889 million barrels in Massachusetts this year, according to a committee press release. Each barrel contains about 100 pounds.

Nationally, cranberry growers are expected to harvest about 8.3 million barrels, an increase of 24% from last year. Cranberries are generally harvested from mid-September to mid-November.

“Our pollination season was good this year, and overall, the crop looks solid,” said Cape Cod Cranberry Growers’ Association Executive Director Brian Wick in the release. “The lingering concern is the ongoing drought. The berries are still sizing and gaining water weight.”

The A.D. Makepeace Company, the world’s largest cranberry growing business, oversees hundreds of acres of bogs across the state, including in Wareham.

"We don't like to make predictions, especially considering recent extreme weather events,” Vice President of Communications for A.D. Makepeace Linda Burke said in an email when asked about the company’s forecasted harvest. “A lot can happen in the next two and a half months."

Burke said A.D. Makepeace’s harvest generally runs from the opening of the Ocean Spray receiving station on Sept. 16 through the second week in November.

Wick said additional irrigation from growers helped keep cranberry vines alive and berries intact this season. He added that a little more rainfall would help berries get to their full potential. This year’s crop forecast, he said, is a welcome change from last year’s lower yield, when Massachusetts saw far too much precipitation.

“These growing condition extremes are very challenging for our farmers,” Wick said. “In drought years, the fruit quality is usually excellent. Crop potential may be tempered a bit this season, but consumers should expect to see good quality fruit this fall.”

Cranberries are Massachusetts’ largest agricultural export, representing a crop value of about $64.9 million annually. About a third of all North American cranberry acreage is found in Massachusetts.