Growing and Harvesting

Wisconsin where cranberries grow best

In the spring, new green leaves grow on the vines, creeping across the ground. Cranberry plants are often pollinated with the help of lots of busy bees. Pink and white blossoms begin to appear on the vines in June. Within approximately six weeks, these blossoms give way to small, green nodes and eventually, the red berries that we enjoy so much. Cranberries signal ripeness when they develop a deep red color – usually in September and October.

The cranberries used for dried fruit are “wet harvested”. When ripe, the bogs are flooded and the berries are gently shaken from the vines.  Because the berries each have four air pockets, they float to the surface of the water. These floating berries are then corralled in preparation for being pumped into trucks for transportation to a receiving station where they will be tested for quality, color, sugar content, etc.

Cranberry harvest typically ends in early November. Then the leaves on the vines turn crimson. The beds are flooded again, this time to protect the plants from damage during the cold winter months. This begins the plants’ dormant phase, which lasts until next spring.

Are you are interested in seeing more? Visit Glacial Lake Cranberries. They offer year-round guided tours for visitors. Each year, guests from all corners of the world travel to see the beauty and wonder of the cranberry marsh and operations.