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Extended Winter Shortens Cranberry Growing SeasonSubmitted: 05/08/2013
Ben Meyer
Ben Meyer
Managing Editor / Senior Reporter
bmeyer@wjfw.com

Extended Winter Shortens Cranberry Growing Season
MANITOWISH WATERS - The cold April meant you could ski and ice fish longer, and had to keep your winter coat at hand.

But it also could have an impact on northern Wisconsin crops.

Cranberries from the Northwoods might be smaller and not as deep red in color this year.

That size and color difference shouldn't make a difference on how our official state fruit tastes this year.

The expected difference in how they grow is due to the shortened growing season compared to last year.

Cold weather into May this year pushed things back much further than last spring.

"Last year, we were at one extreme, and this year, we're the other extreme. Last year was probably the longest growing season we've ever had. This year, I would predict that it would be closer to what the average growing season would be," says Bob Winter of Vilas Cranberry.

A short growing season often produces berries smaller and lighter in color.

That doesn't change the taste.

But it could change profits for growers.

"You'd probably have to wait a little longer into growing season before you start harvesting to get a little better color. Size is weight, so, the bigger the berries, the more they weigh. You get paid by the hundred pounds, so size is good," Winter says.

Many growers are flooding their bogs right now to help get frost out of the ground faster.

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 IN OTHER NEWS

RHINELANDER - Stepping onto a boat and casting a line doesn't come easy for some people.

The Northwoods "Let's Go Fishing" pontoon helps veterans, seniors, the disabled get on the lake for a day of fun.

The Northwoods chapter needs volunteer captains and mates to keep the rides running.

The first training session is tomorrow night at 6 p.m. at the Pavilion at Hodag Park in Rhinelander.

Chapter President Mark Schroeder says the program is like lake therapy.

"Hey for one thing we are out on the water. It's something that is good for all us; it is good for everyone really," said Schroeder.

Anyone can volunteer to be a captain or a mate.

The training takes about two hours.

"When you're out in the water, there's something that happens. It is the look that people have, it's the smile have. It truly changes your attitude towards life," said Pastor Rod Ankrom of Calvary Baptist Church.

Pontoon rides run through mid-September.

If you want to schedule a ride or volunteer, call 715-219-5436.



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