BOSTON (WPRI) — October is Massachusetts Cranberry Month, and Gov. Charlie Baker is once again asking residents to support the industry by purchasing locally-sourced cranberry products.
Massachusetts, according to the Baker administration, is the oldest cranberry growing region in the country, with approximately 13,300 acres of commercial cranberry bogs in the state.
Cranberries represent the top commercial crop grown in the state, producing nearly 23% of the country’s cranberry supply.
Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Kathleen Theoharides said the Baker administration’s support for the cranberry industry will “ensure that the official state berry of Massachusetts continues to thrive for venerations to come.”
“Aside from it being a delicious and quintessential New England staple, the production of cranberries provides enormous environmental benefits to the Commonwealth and our local growers are true stewards of their land, incorporating the latest in technology and equipment to harvest their fruit in ways that conserves water and protects natural resources,” Theoharides said.
Last year, the Baker administration said the total value of the state’s cranberry production was $64.9 million.
“Whether served alongside a Thanksgiving Day dinner, in dried form on top of a salad or consumed in a glass as a beverage, the cranberry is a versatile fruit that has been enjoyed for generations here in Massachusetts and across the country,” Department of Agricultural Resources Commissioner John Lebeaux said. “Taking place from late September to early November, the cranberry harvest season coincides with the fall foliage season, providing a double dose of visual splendor and making October the perfect month to celebrate.”
Last year, the Baker administration set aside $7.75 million in funding to support infrastructure upgrades at the UMass Cranberry Station in Wareham.
The Cranberry Station, according to the Baker administration, “is a vital outreach and research center charged with the mission of maintaining and enhancing the economic viability of the Massachusetts cranberry industry.”
While renovations on the Cranberry Station are already underway, the state hopes to hold a groundbreaking ceremony for the project later this month.
“Cranberries and cranberry growers have been an important part of our regional history and economy for more than 200 years, and with continuing state support, Massachusetts bogs should continue to serve as one of the top producing regions in the world,” Rep. Bill Strauss, co-chair of the Cranberry Station Board of Oversight said.