Almost nobody buys fresh cranberries
In CY (Cranberry Year!) 2012 (September 1 through August 31) a whole heap of cranberries were sold — nearly 8 million barrels, all told. For the record, a cranberry barrel is 95.5 liters (think 47-plus two-liter bottles of soda). Of the nearly 8 million barrels, only 321,639 of them were sold as fresh fruit. That means just 4.1 percent of all cranberries that are harvested get sold in their natural, fresh state. The vast majority are sold as juice or dried and sweetened — the rest as concentrate or sauces, or processed in some other way.
Only five U.S. states produce a significant number of cranberries*
Massachusetts produces a lot of cranberries. But it's not America's leading producer — not by a long shot. The state of Wisconsin produces roughly twice the cranberries that the Bay State does. Perhaps Green Bay Packers fans should start wearing foam cranberries on their heads? Here is the average number of barrels produced, by state, each year over the past five years. As for the other 45 states? We import more cranberries from overseas each year than they produce.
Cranberries are one of only three native North American fruits cultivated today
The other two are blueberries and concord grapes – both of which flourish in New England. The native north americans used cranberries for a variety of things: a meat curative, as a poltus for wound healing and as a dye.
The whole world loves cranberries
The single biggest customer for U.S. cranberries is the rest of the world — and it's a market that is growing. Over a ten year period, export volumes have grown from 12 percent to 30 percent. Almost a third of the cranberry crop this year will make its way south to Mexico and overseas to places like Europe, Russia, China, and South Korea.
The word "cranberry" was first used in New England
According to Peter Sokolowski, editor-at-large for Merriam-Webster:
"It seems appropriate that the word "cranberry" was first used in New England. The earliest examples of the word, from the 1600s, are either written in New England or refer to the colony as the origin of the red fruit. The earliest known use is a charming one, from 1647: 'Why are Strawberries sweet and Cranberries soure?' The old-fashioned capitalization of the nouns brings to mind another fact about the creation of this word: It seems likely that this it was modeled on a German word (such as Kranbeere, or crane-berry), but brought to England from the New World. We're not exactly certain why it was named after cranes; it could be because the flower of the plant and its stem resemble a crane. In England they were known as 'fen-berries' or 'marsh-berries' and in New England they were also known as 'bear-berries' because bears ate them."