background_fid.jpg
Regional Public Journalism
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations
Food, Agriculture, and Animals

Northwest Cranberry Growers Wish You’d Eat Their Product Year-Round

112713CL_cranberries.jpg
Chris Lehman
/
Northwest News Network
Northwest cranberry growers are trying to get more of their product into the supermarket produce section. These berries are for sale at a Salem, Oregon grocery store.

One out of every five cranberries grown in the U.S. is eaten Thanksgiving week, according to industry giant Ocean Spray.

And chances are that your Thanksgiving meal this year will probably include some kind of cranberry dish. Here in the Northwest, cranberry farmers hope to convince Americans to eat more berries year-round.

You probably aren't a real cranberry farmer unless you eat a fair share yourself.

"We make them into our own sauce. We use them in salads, cranberry bread. We eat a lot of cranberries," says Scott McKenzie. He has been harvesting the berries for nearly 20 years on his coastal farm near Port Orford, Oregon.

McKenzie says most Northwest growers had a fairly average yield this year, a little down from last year. But a robust national harvest kept prices fairly modest.

McKenzie says farmers like him sell most of their berries for processing -- for things like juice and canned sauces. But he says more growers are trying to sell their berries in the produce section, where they typically fetch a higher price.

"I think that's going to be a bigger part of what we do here in Oregon over the next few years," he says.

Oregon and Washington are among the nation's top five cranberry producing states. But the region's output is tiny compared to the leaders: Wisconsin, Massachusetts and New Jersey.