UMaine Experts Available to Discuss ‘Very Good’ Cranberry Crop

This year was a very good year for Maine cranberries, possibly a $2 million year for growers, according to University of Maine Cooperative Extension cranberry professional Charlie Armstrong.

“Many of the growers got record yields for their particular farms, and were it not for the fact that our largest grower pruned last year, we would probably be looking at a new record for Maine cranberry production” Armstrong says.~”But even with the pruning that was done to half of the cranberry acres in the state after last year’s harvest, it wouldn’t surprise me if we still surpassed last year’s record crop of nearly 30,000 barrels — or 3 million pounds — because we had very good cranberry weather this season, overall.”

Armstrong, who is available to discuss the 2011 cranberry crop and its benefit to the Maine economy, says a nice blend of sunshine and rain allowed many growers to run irrigation systems a few times during the entire season, “which is remarkable,” he adds.

The value of last year’s crop came in at just over $1million. With a higher prices expected for this year’s berries, the value of that same amount of fruit should be closer to $2 million, he says.

“A very encouraging trend that the Maine cranberry industry is witnessing is one of an ever-increasing yield per acre on an individual grower basis,” says Armstrong. “I think this speaks to the value of the assistance being given by the University of Maine, as well as to a cooperative spirit of ‘grower-helping-grower’ that exists in the industry.”

The Cooperative Extension website dedicates a page to cranberry-related educational materials for teachers. Armstrong created the page after multiple inquiries from teachers looking for cranberry items and information to use in classrooms around Thanksgiving.

Armstrong, in Orono, can be reached at (207) 581-2967.

In addition, Extension educator Kathleen Savoie, an expert on canning and preserving foods, jams and jellies, is available in her Cumberland County office in Portland to discuss cranberry recipes and preservation tips.

Contact: Charlie Armstrong, (207) 581-2967; Kathy Savoie, (207) 780-4205 or