Cranberries are a perennial crop grown commercially in man-made wetlands or bogs in primarily five states in the U.S. Americans consume nearly 400 million pounds of cranberries per year, 20 percent of them during Thanksgiving week. Cranberries are at the top of the list of healthy foods. Besides being high in vitamin C, manganese and fiber, cranberries are rich in phyto-nutrients (naturally derived plant compounds), particularly proanthocyanidin antioxidants, which are essential for all-round wellness.
Native Americans on Oregon's northern coast gathered wild cranberries. But it wasn't until 1885 that Massachusetts native Charles McFarlin realized that cranberries would thrive on Oregon's sandy South Coast and planted the first vines.
Commercial bogs were few until 1946, when the Ocean Spray cooperative extended its operations to Oregon. There are now approximately 150 cranberry farms in Coos and Curry counties. Sixty-four percent of Oregon growers are independent and not affiliated with Ocean Spray.
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Cranberries are an important source of farm income in the Coos and Curry county area. Beds along the South Coast produce 99 percent of Oregon's cranberry crop. Sandy, elevated, marine terraces provide a good foundation for cranberries. Oregon-grown cranberries have consistently excellent red color content valued by processors for blending.
Cranberry farms are also a market for beekeepers who offer pollination services. About 3,500 Oregon hives are placed on cranberry farms during bloom. Cranberry farms also utilize the services of several custom operators who build, prune and resand beds. Local fabricators and machinists help to build specialized equipment for cranberry farming.
The city of Bandon has celebrated a Cranberry Festival in the fall each year since 1947.