The fresh cranberry outlook is strong for the Cranberry Cooperative of the Americas, said Scott Simmons, director of sales.
In March, the owners of Habelman Bros. Co. in Tomah, Wis., and L&S Cranberry LP in St. Lucien, Quebec, announced the formation of Cranberry Cooperative of the Americas.
“Those two are the largest two independent growers of fresh cranberries in North America,” Simmons said.
“It’s been a great opportunity to really elevate what we can do.”
He said the cooperative’s high-speed co-packing capacity is a key to the cooperative’s strengths.
Simmons said CCA offers big fresh cranberry volume in Wisconsin and Quebec.
“The crops in those regions are looking good,” Simmons said, noting average size, good fruit quality, good color, and good keeping quality anticipated.
“The organic crop might be a little behind, versus the conventional crop in Wisconsin, but it is still good shape.”
Quebec’s fresh cranberry season runs a little earlier than Wisconsin, especially with the Canadian Thanksgiving on October 11th.
“The crop tends to go earlier, but some of that is driven by early season varieties that are harvested and used specifically for early demand,” Simmons said.
Canada’s fresh cranberry season tends to be broken into two seasons: Canadian Thanksgiving demand, then increasing for December demand.
In the U.S., retailers want cranberries when they become available in September, with volume eventually increasing for the U.S. Thanksgiving November (25th) push, followed by lighter volume in December.
“We have supply right through the holidays,” Simmons said. “We manage our crops so that we’ve got good varieties that can last through December.”
From a freight cost perspective, Wisconsin is well-positioned to supply cranberries to much of the South, Midwest and West, while Quebec can cover much of the East Coast demand.