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Extended Winter Shortens Cranberry Growing SeasonSubmitted: 05/08/2013

Ben Meyer
Managing Editor / Senior Reporter
bmeyer@wjfw.com


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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