Cranberry industry., Cranberry Station (University of Massachusetts at Amherst), Harvest, Best Management Practices
Cranberries are harvested by two basic methods, dry harvest and water harvest. The dry harvest fruit is destined primarily for the fresh market while the water harvested fruit is processed. Growers manage cranberry plantings to facilitate these harvest methods and fruit uses. Ideally, the fruit are harvested at full maturity with good color (anthocyanin content) but prior to the fruit becoming over-ripe. Timing of harvest is important for fresh-market fruit so that the berries are sufficiently red but retain good storage quality, while fruit for the process market ideally has maximum color. Cranberry marketing companies produce ‘no color added’ products, so the color at harvest is of great importance in processed berries.
Following the harvest, management practices focus on minimizing harvest stress and preparing the bogs for the dormant season. To minimize disease and weed infestations, leaf litter and fallen fruit are removed from the bogs.