In Oregon, cranberry farmers don’t have to worry about snow or early freezes; west coast cranberries can be picked later in the year—six to eight weeks later—and their longer ripening time and exposure to colder (but not freezing) temperatures can increase their sugar content. This, cranberry farmer Ty Vincent believes, makes Oregon’s sandy coast an excellent place to grow the ripest, sweetest cranberries on the market.
This Oregon Field Guide video from Oregon Public Broadcasting documents two kinds of late season cranberry harvests: fresh fruit handpicked in a dry field and fruit floated in from a flooded bog, an easier way to collect berries for juice, sauce, or dried snacks.
The growers emphasize the sweetness by measuring it in Brix (°Bx), a unit that quantifies sugar solids in the berry. Oregon’s cranberries typically boast a Brix average of 9.5, a point ahead of the Midwest’s usual average. This, despite their being just 4% of the nation’s cranberry harvest, makes their yield unique.