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A good year for cranberries in Massachusetts

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Yuki A. Honjo
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Harvesting cranberries in Falmouth, Mass.

Cranberry growers in Massachusetts are expecting their fall harvest to be 19 percent bigger than last year.

Most growers were able to irrigate their crops throughout the summer, despite the drought. They were able to use the water stored in their irrigation ponds.

Then, several rainstorms arrived near the end of the summer, filling up those ponds just in time for harvest.

Brian Wick, the executive director of the Cape Cod Cranberry Growers Association, says there are other factors, too.

For one thing, the spring and early summer had ideal conditions for berries.

“Pollination season was nice,” he said. “It was relatively dry, which allows the bees to work.”

Last summer, the region got too much rain for the berries. Extra water makes the crop susceptible to fungus, which made for a bad harvest.

“That’s one of the silver linings of a drought,” he said. “Usually, your fruit quality is better because the bogs are drier and the moisture isn’t there to produce the rot.”

Wick cautioned that a small number of growers in the region did not get enough rainfall late in the season to refill their irrigation ponds. These growers may have trouble harvesting.

But on balance, this is shaping up to be a good year for cranberries, he said.

“Elsa Partan is a producer and newscaster with CAI. She first came to the station in 2002 as an intern and fell in love with radio. She is a graduate of Bryn Mawr College and the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. From 2006 to 2009, she covered the state of Wyoming for the NPR member station Wyoming Public Media in Laramie. She was a newspaper reporter at The Mashpee Enterprise from 2010 to 2013. She lives in Falmouth with her husband and two daughters.