Warm weather makes season good for cranberry growing
Story By Lilly Zoller
Local News Published 07/21/2021 5:09PM, Last Updated 07/24/2021 4:16PM
Eagle River -
"There's the cranberries. They started growing about a month ago," said Jerry Fennel, tour director at Nokomis Cranberries in Eagle River. Fennell loves cranberries. "The berries begin to form and within a month to six weeks these berries will be ready to harvest."
Ten years ago, Fennel took a tour himself and was instantly hooked. Now, he takes people of all ages around the farm to show them what goes into growing cranberries.
"My favorite part is the kids who come out. I involve the kids in the tours," said Fennell. "I have them put on a little play, and I give them each a little part in explaining how cranberries grow and how they are protected."
That growth and protection process includes giving the berries water, fertilizer, and nutrients. Farm leaders say many people are also surprised to learn that cranberries DON'T grow in water.
"But this in the background is actually how they prefer to be grown, dry, versus wet," said Mike Zawistowski, marsh manager at Lake Nokomis Cranberries.
Lake Nokomis Cranberries produces about 30 billion cranberries each season, which Fennell says is enough for every human in the world to have a handful of cranberries. 60 percent of the world's cranberries come from Wisconsin, and farm leaders say that with harvest season right around the corner, they're on track for a great season.
"This year it's like perfect growing weather," Zawistokowski said. "Right now it's very calm, hot."
"In the next 30 days they'll explode with this sunshine and this weather and warm nights they'll grow just daily," Fennell said.