Wisconsin is the number one cranberry farming state, while Massachusetts produces the second largest amount of cranberries, as of 2015. Other states with cranberry farms include New Jersey, Oregon and Washington. Millions of cranberries are grown, harvested and marketed in the United States, and Wisconsin produces over 50 percent of its fresh cranberries and 60 percent of its processed cranberries.
Wisconsin was the first state to harvest cranberries, beginning in 1860, and it continues this tradition by devoting 21,000 acres of farmland to the crop, as of 2015. Cranberries require marshy land that is mostly composed of peat and sand, and this type of land is abundant in northern and central Wisconsin. The state's cranberry farms are spread throughout 20 counties, and the largest cranberry farms are located in Weed, Jackson and Monroe Counties. Some cranberry farms in Wisconsin offer cranberry marsh tours to the public, and visitors can visit a working farm to learn all about growing and harvesting cranberries.
Cranberry farmers use man-made bogs, which are wetlands, to create an ideal growing environment, and they irrigate their crops using sprinkler systems. Bogs are flooded for harvesting and crop protection. The main growing season for cranberries is March through October, while the short harvesting season starts in mid-September and lasts until the end of October. A small percentage of a cranberry farmer's crop is sold as fresh produce, and the rest is sold for commercial processing.