ILWACO, Wash. | Cranberry bogs in Washington state produce solid hues of vibrant red each fall as one of the state’s lesser-known crops is harvested in the months before Thanksgiving.
This year’s crop of about 194,000 barrels of cranberries puts the apple-giant state fifth in the U.S., according to federal estimates. Wisconsin and Massachusetts produce the bulk of the crop.
Malcolm and Ardell McPhail have operated CranMac Farm for more than 35 years, one of the largest and oldest cranberry farms in Washington.
Their harvest of about 1,000 tons of cranberries this year is slightly down from 2015, but Malcolm says new varieties are increasing the yield-per-acre from the peat-rich soil on his farm and others.
The resulting surplus nationally has driven prices down, but McPhail says he’s optimistic.
“It’s nice to grow a healthy crop,” he said, adding, “We hardly eat a meal that we don’t have cranberries.”