MANITOWISH WATERS - Each year brings a new challenge to the cranberry growing season.
The large amount of rain throughout the Northwoods in the past couple of months has brought with it some positives and some negatives, according to one family-owned cranberry company.
Steven Bartling has known the cranberry business his whole life. He is the fourth-generation owner of Bartling's Manitowish Cranberry, and he says this year's growth season has been interesting.
But Bartling thinks all the rain this season has actually helped more than hurt the plants.
"It hasn't had much effect on the crop itself, because they're a pretty water-tolerant plant. They're not an aquatic plant, so they don't grow wet, but they're damp all the time, so it's been good for that," said Bartling.
Plus, Bartling says it has helped the overall water levels, too.
"Over the last 10 years or so, it's kind of been a drier time, and this has really brought our water tables back up to where the average is, so we're really fortunate for that," Bartling said.
But that doesn't mean the rain hasn't had any effect on the crop. With the cranberry plants about to bloom, the rain is hindering the company's special "business partners."
"We're just coming into pollination and our bees...they don't work in the rain, so we need nice, warm 70-degree sunny not very windy days for our honeybees to do effective pollinating, and if it's raining, they won't be doing that," said Bartling.
Despite the slight setback, Bartling says they are still on schedule for the growing season.
"We've got no control over Mother Nature, and we just have to play every day as it comes and do our best to manage around what the day brings, so it's always a challenge."