Among the states, Massachusetts is second only to Wisconsin for its farm output of fresh cranberries. (djorenstein/Pixabay)

A Bitter Year for MA Cranberries?

By: Laura Rosbrow-Telem, Public News Service

PLYMOUTH, Mass. – If Thanksgiving cranberry sales don’t pick up, it could be a tough year for Massachusetts growers of the bitter fruit – and they’re laying much of the blame on the U.S. trade war with China.

Massachusetts’ cranberry output is the second-highest in the country, and the Ocean Spray brand is based here.

Brian Wick, executive director of the Cape Cod Cranberry Growers Association, explains that the Bay State crop so far is down about 4% from 2018, though there was an ample supply last year. But Wick says the loss of the Chinese market has been substantial since the tariffs went into effect in July 2018.

“Based on the USDA numbers nationally, we have lost a little over $50 million so far, since the tariffs have gone into place,” says Wick. “So, that’s a significant impact.”

Last year, China bought close to $55 million worth of cranberry products, making it the largest importer of U.S. cranberries.

But U.S. export figures show in the first half of this year, cranberry sales to China were down about 45% compared to the first half of 2018, before the tariffs took effect. And the U.S. cranberry market makes about 30% of its money from exports, according to Wick.

While the volume of the cranberry crop is down a bit, Wick says growers are seeing higher-quality berries this year. He credits the weather, with more predictable summer and fall weather patterns in the area.

“We’re just very happy with the color coming on so quickly,” says Wick. “Those nice, dark red berries that look great in your fresh fruit bags when you’re making your decisions for your cranberries for the holidays.”

But only about 5% of U.S. cranberries are sold fresh, according to the Agricultural Marketing Resource Center.

Since the crop decreased and the quality improved, Wick expects the prices to go up this season. He hopes that will help support the 300 or so cranberry growers in Massachusetts.


The Southern Maryland Chronicle is a local, small business entrusted to provide factual, unbiased reporting to the Southern Maryland Community. While we look to local businesses for advertising, we hope to keep that cost as low as possible in order to attract even the smallest of local businesses and help them get out to the public. We must also be able to pay employees(part-time and full-time), along with equipment, and website related things. We never want to make the Chronicle a “pay-wall” style news site.

To that end, we are looking to the community to offer donations. Whether it’s a one-time donation or you set up a reoccurring monthly donation. It is all appreciated. All donations at this time will be going to furthering the Chronicle through hiring individuals that have the same goals of providing fair, and unbiased news to the community. For now, donations will be going to a business PayPal account I have set-up for the Southern Maryland Chronicle, KDC Designs. All business transactions currently occur within this PayPal account. If you have any questions regarding this you can email me at davidhiggins@southernmarylandchronicle.com

Thank you for all of your support and I hope to continue bringing Southern Maryland the best news possible for a very long time. — David M. Higgins II




© 2019 The Southern Maryland Chronicle. All Rights Reserved. This website is not intended for users located within the European Economic Area.