The State That Produces The Most Cranberries

Do you prefer cranberry sauce from a can, or do you like to make your own cranberry sauce from scratch? Whatever your preference, have you ever thought about what a cranberry is, how it's grown, and where it comes from? According to Massachusetts Cranberries, the cranberry is a Native American fruit that grows on vines much like a strawberry. These vines thrive in the wetlands, thanks to a combination of various properties found in the soils and water that make up the growing habitat they need.

These soils include sand, peat, and gravel and they make beds known as bogs, or sometimes marshes. With that in mind, you'd think that the state that produces the most cranberries would be a southern state in the U.S., one that has swamp-like terrain, but that's not true. Cranberries are actually grown throughout the northern part of the United States, because (according to Harvest to Table), cranberries need three months of winter weather for growing. So, what state produces the most cranberries?

The U.S. produces a lot of cranberries

Per National Geographic, just five states grow almost all of the nation's cranberries: Wisconsin, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Oregon, and Washington, with Wisconsin producing more than half of those. According to Statista, Wisconsin churned out about 4.17 million barrels of berries in 2021. After the Badger State, Massachusetts seems to produce the highest amount of cranberries, with 1.8 million barrels (or a third of the nation's supply) of cranberries coming out of The Bay State that same year.

Gardener's Path reports that it can take three to five years for a seed-grown cranberry plant to produce fruit. According to Stark Bro's, each plant yields approximately one to one and a half pounds of berries each year and cranberry plants that produce a larger crop (some can yield up to three pounds), may not bear fruit the next year. 

According to Wisconsin State Farmer, one barrel equals 100 pounds of cranberries, so when you think about how many cranberries these five states produce in the United States in one year, that's an impressive feat and it gives Americans a lot of cranberries to cook with. Cranberry marinade, anyone?

Cranberries aren't just for the holidays

According to Ocean Spray, the maker of that canned cranberry sauce people love so much, Americans consume 400 million pounds of cranberries a year, and 80 million of those are consumed during the week of Thanksgiving. The canned cranberry makers say they produce 70 million cans of cranberry sauce a year, and if that is easier for you than making your own cranberry sauce, you can spice up canned cranberry sauce yourself.

If all this talk of cranberries has you craving the tart little berry, you don't have to wait for the holidays to enjoy them, and you don't have to use them in traditional holiday recipes. There are many great cranberry recipes that can help you get more of the fruit in your diet, and that may be good for your health — according to Medical News Today, cranberries are a super food that lower the risk of urinary tract infection, decrease blood pressure, help prevent certain types of cancer, and improve immunity.

And how can we not mention the popularity of cranberry juice? By itself or as a mixer for cocktails like the Cosmopolitan, this is one beverage folks enjoy year-round.