US Cranberries Introduce Russian Buyer Delegation to US Cranberry Production and Import Opportunities

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Southeastern Massachusetts' Cranberry Bogs provide a beautiful backdrop for industry meet-and-greet between U.S. Cranberry industry and Russian buyers.

Gary Garretson, South Carver, Massachusetts

Our goal is to broaden consumer awareness and to build on Russia’s cranberry tradition with our American cranberry in all its versatile forms. - Scott J. Soares

US Cranberries representatives announced today a multi-day tour during Massachusetts’ harvest season to introduce Russian buyers to North America’s native cranberry. The American cranberry (Vaccinium macracarpon) is only one of three commercially cultivated native fruits. The other two are the blueberry (Vaccinium cyanoccoccus) and Concord grape (Vitis labrusca).

“Russian consumers are already familiar with their own native variety which is a popular mainstay of the Russian diet,” said Scott J. Soares, Executive Director, US Cranberries. “Our goal is to broaden consumer awareness and to build on Russia’s cranberry tradition with our American cranberry in all its versatile forms.”

Russian buyers will be touring the local cranberry growing region of Southeastern, Massachusetts Oct. 1-2 as farmers harvest 14,000 acres of “bogs”. Massachusetts ranks 2nd in the nation for cranberry production and the fruit accounts for nearly one-fifth of farm production revenue in the state. The group of visitors will also be touring two local processing facilities: Decas Cranberry Products, Inc. and Ocean Spray world headquarters.

Massachusetts is at the peak of harvest season with a projected forecast of 210 million pounds. Some growers have noted that this year’s berries are slightly smaller than last year’s due to cloudy and wet weather in early summer, but early harvest reports indicate good quality and color for the incoming crop.

“The Cape Cod Cranberry Growers Association (CCCGA), is proud to cooperate with the US Cranberries organization to host the Russian delegation,” said Paul Kindinger, Executive Director of the CCCGA. “We are delighted that the Russian delegation has chosen Massachusetts for their visit of cranberry production in the U.S. since we are a major production area and home to some of the largest processor/distributors of cranberry products in the world.”

The total projected harvest for US cranberries in 2013 is over 800 million pounds. In concert with the cranberry industry and Cranberry Marketing Committee members, a number of programs have been launched to raise awareness about the versatility and health benefits of the cranberry in key international markets.

Mr. Soares, who joined US Cranberries – Cranberry Marketing Committee in May 2012, has been on recent trade missions to China, South America, and Russia. He will also be joining the Wisconsin State Cranberry Growers Association on October 6-9 as journalists from South Korea are introduced to cranberry production in Wisconsin, America’s largest cranberry growing state.

“Cranberries, with a suite of proven health benefits, fit squarely into the category of food products that are being sought by the increasingly health conscious consumer worldwide,” said Soares.

Cranberry Production Facts:

-In order of production volumes, cranberries are commercially grown in the states of Wisconsin, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Oregon and Washington. Although smaller production, cranberries are also grown in Connecticut, New York, Rhode Island, Minnesota, Maine and Michigan.

-There are approximately 1,200 growers in the U.S. who farm cranberries on 40,000 acres of marshes and bogs.

-Fresh, frozen, dried or juice – product diversification has led to a wide variety of culinary innovation.

-Over a ten-year period, export volumes have risen from 12% to approximately 30% of production.

-A serving of fresh cranberries is a good source of vitamin C and fiber, provides antioxidant polyphenols, and contains only 1 mg of sodium.

About US Cranberries - US Cranberry Marketing Committee (CMC):
The CMC was established as a Federal Marketing Order in 1962 to ensure a stable, orderly supply of good quality product. Authority for its actions are provided under Chapter IX, Title 7, Code of Federal Regulations, referred to as the Federal Cranberry Marketing Order, which is part of the Agricultural Marketing Agreement Act of 1937, as amended. This Act specifies cranberries as a commodity that may be covered, regulations that may be issued, guidelines for administering the programs, and privileges and limitations granted by Congress. For more information about the CMC, visit http://www.uscranberries.com. Follow at @uscranberries on Twitter and Like Cranbecravers on Facebook.

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Anna Waclawiczek
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