BOSTON (WBZNewsRadio) - It's that time of year again, when the leaf peepers descend upon New England and the cranberry bogs come to life as bright red pools of luscious fruit. To celebrate the start of cranberry season, Governor Maura Healey has declared October "Massachusetts Cranberry month."
“It’s highly appropriate to name October as ‘Massachusetts Cranberry Month,’ a vital and sustainable crop that does so much to benefit the region and the Massachusetts economy,” said Senator Michael J. Rodrigues (D-Westport), Chair of the Senate Committee on Ways and Means. "It is so important to keep our agricultural industry thriving, and the cranberry harvest is a great example of the strength of our rural and environmental ecosystem.”
“Massachusetts’ cranberry industry is not just a vital part of our agricultural heritage, it’s a cornerstone of our regional economy,” said State Senator Susan Moran (Plymouth & Barnstable District). “It is fitting that we are celebrating the fruit at the heart of the Commonwealth’s agricultural identity at the beginning of harvest season. We’re also recognizing the significant role that cranberry growing plays in addressing the challenges of our time, particularly the impacts of climate change. I’m grateful to the Healey-Driscoll Administration for recognizing October as Cranberry Month and for celebrating the critical contributions of our hard-working cranberry farmers.”
State officials gathered at Mann Farms in Plymouth to mark the occasion. It's just a small part of some 12,000 acres of commercial cranberry bogs in the state. Last year, the industry employed more than 6,400 people and brought it more than $1.7 billion to the local economy.
“Massachusetts has a rich history of cranberry growing. This industry has long provided economic and environmental benefits, and it’s important to work with farmers to ensure the long-term viability of their farms,” said Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Rebecca Tepper. “Our administration stands in support of cranberry farmers. We look forward to continued collaboration in utilizing modern techniques for growing and harvesting to conserve water and protect our open spaces.”
The Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources (MDAR) works alongside local farms to modernize the industry and practice sustainable growing techniques to help with the state's environmental goals.
The past April, UMass Amherst expanded and modernized the Cranberry Station in East Wareham, creating a space for local cranberry growers and researchers to work together.
“As one of the most unique and recognizable crops in our region, cranberries have been a staple at the Thanksgiving dinner table and are becoming more common as an ingredient in year-round cuisine,” said MDAR Commissioner Ashley Randle. “While I’m pleased that this year will yield a decent harvest for our cranberry farmers, we also recognize that each year poses new challenges for growers. We’re committed to working with farmers and other stakeholder partners to ensure that the cranberry sector has the tools and resources needed to effectively produce in the region year after year.”