Last Updated on October 11, 2023
Cranberries are not grown in water, but flooding bogs with water is used during the cranberry growing season and ‘wet harvesting.’
Let’s find out how cranberries are grown and harvested, along with some other cool cranberry facts.
How do cranberries grow?
Cranberries (Vaccinium macrocarpon) grow in wetlands on low-running vines in dry beds layered with sand, peat, gravel and clay. These beds, called “bogs,” were originally made by glacial deposits.
Today commercial growers construct cranberry beds in upland areas too.
Interested in growing cranberries at home? It’s quite easy! Learn how to do it in my cranberry growing guide.
Want to know about commercial cranberry growing? Watch the YouTube video below.
Are cranberries grown in water?
Ok, I still feel your hesitation… 😊
I know what you are about to ask…
“Are you sure that cranberries do not grow in the water? What about all those Ocean Spray commercials with farmers standing deep in the water and cranberries floating around them? Is it a lie?”
Do you remember this 2006 Ocean Spray commercial reminding that cranberries are good for you?
I wouldn’t call commercials too deceiving because water indeed plays an important role in commercial cranberry growing.
Flooding bogs with water is used a few times during a year in order
The Ocean Spray commercial was shot during “wet harvesting”.
This leads us to another question:
How are cranberries harvested?
There are two methods of cranberry harvesting: “wet” and “dry”.
The wet method for harvesting cranberries is also called flood harvesting.
It occurs after the berries turn red, which usually starts at the end of September and lasts till November.
The night before cranberries are harvested, the bog is flooded with about 18 inches of water. Cranberries float to the surface because each cranberry fruit has 4 air pockets.
Then the berries are cut from the vine by machine, gathered together, and sucked into a truck that will take them to the plant. They will be used for making processed food, like cranberry juice or jams.
Approximately 90 per cent of the cranberry crop is harvested this way.
Commercially, dry harvesting is done by special machines – Darlington, Fulford or Western pickers. If you care to know more about how it’s done, read it here.
Fresh cranberries you buy for Thanksgiving in the supermarket are “dry harvested”.
Other frequently asked questions about growing cranberries.
Which species of cranberry is grown commercially in the USA?
There are 4 known species of cranberry: Vaccinium macrocarpon (large cranberry, also known as American cranberry), Vaccinium oxycoccos (common cranberry), Vaccinium microcarpus (small cranberry), and Vaccinium erythrocarpum (mountain cranberry).
You are most familiar with Vaccinium macrocarpon – large cranberries native to northern North America that are commercially grown in the USA, sold fresh in grocery stores and used in processed cranberry products.
Where do cranberries grow?
Cranberries are commercially grown in such northern USA states as Wisconsin (65% of US production),Massachusetts (23 % of US production), New Jersey, Oregon, and Washington,
In Canada they grow in provinces of British Columbia and Quebec.
Cranberries are also grown in Northern and central Europe and Asia, and in Argentina.
How cranberries got their name
The name “cranberry” came from German kraanbere (English translation – craneberry), because the plant’s blossoms resemble the head and bill of a crane.
European settlers that came to America called cranberries “craneberries”.
I do not know about other European countries, but in Ukraine cranberries are called “журавлина”, which translates as craneberry too, and in Russia, they are called “клюква” which can be translated as “beakberries”.
Discover useful gardening tips on growing and maintaining your garden.
Concluding Reflections on How Cranberries Are Grown
INow, you can be certain that cranberries are not cultivated underwater; instead, the practice of flooding bogs with water is employed during the cranberry growing season and for ‘wet harvesting.
You also found out which cranberries are grown commercially, where do cranberries grow and how cranberries got their name.
Pin for later reference!
You might even get inspired to become a cranberry farmer or get interested in growing your own cranberries in your garden. If so, then read my article How to grow cranberries at home.
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