Cranberry season! And the folks here at Prime Fresh Handling (PFH) couldn’t be happier! Such a delicious and wonderful super fruit! Did you know that cranberries are one of the few fruits that are native to North America? When the European colonists first arrived in New England, the Native American tribes introduced the new settlers to this wonderfully tart fruit that soon became a staple of the colonists’ diets.
Five states are known for growing cranberries: Massachusetts, Wisconsin, New Jersey, Oregon, and Washington. Historians agree that cranberries were part of the first Thanksgiving celebration, but no one is quite sure how they were served. The indigenous people of North America not only used them for food, but also for fabric dye and medicine. In our modern world, cranberries have experienced a well-needed makeover. No longer just a side dish at the holiday table, cranberries can be found in your muffins, oatmeal, wedding cake decoration, and even in your cocktail!
PFH remains focused on the brevity of this bountiful harvest. Cranberry season began in mid-September and the season ends mid-November – so we have to move quickly to make sure that your favorite cranberry cobbler is on the table by Thanksgiving. Our clients know they can rely on us and our expertise to work smoothly and quickly with the farmers and producers to get these beautiful berries shipped timely. You can rest assured, knowing that you have placed your trust in PFH and we will literally deliver!
A Spectacular Super Fruit
Cranberries are considered a super food by many nutritionists. One cup of raw fruit has 25 percent of your daily requirement of vitamin C (sailors used to eat them to fight off scurvy), 16 percent of manganese, 9 percent of vitamin A and 8 percent of the daily requirements of vitamins B and E. And, as if that weren’t enough, this powerful fruit is full of antioxidants and fiber.
Americans eat over 400 million cranberries each year – that’s quite a crop! If your favorite memory of cranberries includes watching it slide from a can, you might be surprised to know that over 200 berries are processed to make one can! Since the first recorded harvest in Massachusetts in 1816, we have a long history of loving this tart, versatile fruit.
Although cranberries have thicker skin than some other berries, they have to be handled carefully. Until they are ready to be mashed up into your grandmother’s classic jelly, bruising or broken skin will speed up spoilage and a broken berry can cause bacteria to seep in and ruin the whole batch.
Whether dry harvesting, which uses walk-behind machines to comb the berries into bags-supplying the fresh fruit market, or wet harvesting, where bogs are flooded to make the fruit float for easy removal-how juices and sauces are made, cranberries are big business! Fortunately for American consumers, in spite of a cold spring and a wet July, farmers remain on top of the production of these important berries.
Wisconsin, the nation’s largest producing state, has great news for us! The over 250 multigenerational farmers who make up the Wisconsin State Cranberry Growers Association are projecting approximately 4.97 million barrels, an increase of 150,000 barrels from 2022.
Massachusetts’ farmers, representing almost 25 percent of the national crop, report that they still expect a healthy harvest this fall. The Cape Cod Cranberry Growers’ Association, made up of over 300 cranberry growers, estimates production in 2023 will be approximately 1.96 million barrels, each barrel containing 100 pounds. Thankfully, that’s only about 1 percent less than the 2022 harvest.
The remaining producing states are doing very well, too. We remain proud of the farmers who toil so diligently to produce tender, tasty, perfectly textured, and wonderfully tart cranberries. We have so much to be thankful for and we are happy to hear that the harvest is healthy and, with the help and expertise of PFH, cranberries are ready for tables across the U.S. and around the world.
Transporting A Thanksgiving Tradition
We at PFH are well experienced in taking care that no one at your fall festivity is missing out on our favorite cranberry side dish. “We pay close and careful attention. Cranberries are shipped in a variety of ways – fresh, dried, frozen – we handle them all.” according to our West Coast General Manager Cristina Moscoso. “PFH uses best practices to ensure that this vital Thanksgiving tradition continues to put a smile on every face gathered at the family table.”
PFH packages the cranberries safely and in compliance with all government regulations, making all necessary adjustments to transport the cranberries in a cost efficient and expeditious manner. We additionally take special care so that the berries are able to breathe to avoid excess moisture and making certain that when shipping in bulk, the containers are designed properly to make certain the berries remain intact.
Most cranberries are processed before being transported to the grocery store. If they travel short distances, the berries do not typically require any temperature regulation. However, with the unseasonably warm weather we have all been experiencing – it seems like we should be building sand castles rather than raking leaves lately – shipping requires insulated trucks. And, when they travel longer distances (leaving the north to travel to southern states), they must be kept at temperatures between 36 and 39 degrees Fahrenheit. Moscoso reminds us, “We at PFH are the experts when it comes to shipping perishables. We manage every detail: changes in elevation, weather patterns, duration of the trip – we are prepared to handle every condition.”
With the average American consuming 2.3 pounds of cranberries per year, we know that the seasonal demand is intense and the logistics are challenging. Proper technique is important so that the high quality of the berries remains perfect – we at PFH are well-practiced and more than ready to deliver. Demand is high and there is a small window for delivery.
From all of us here at Prime Fresh Handling, may you and your loved ones have a very berry holiday season!
About Prime Fresh Handling
Whether it’s a box, a pallet, or a companywide logistics operation, Prime Fresh Handling is skilled in achieving safe, on-time delivery of time- and temperature-sensitive products between any point of origin and destination around the world.
In fact, PFH is also known as a global leader in perishables transportation of fresh produce, fish, cut flowers, and plants – plus vaccines and other pharmaceuticals, as well. With dedicated state-of-the-art facilities in Europe, South America, and across North America, PFH leverages industry-leading technologies such as vacuum cooling, sorting, re-packing, barcoding, labeling, and temperature and quality monitoring to guarantee consistent, safe, and fresh delivery.
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