Foreign trade representatives got a firsthand look this week at Wisconsin’s cranberry industry. The international guests visited the 230-acre Gottschalk family marsh west of Wisconsin Rapids, as part of a campaign to increase exports of Wisconsin berries. The goal of the visit was to give the trade group new ideas for promoting the sale of Wisconsin cranberries back home. Australia’s Louisa Galligani has been marketing U.S. cranberries to her countrymen for almost four years, but she said Thursday’s firsthand trip to central Wisconsin has given her greater insight into the industry.
Besides Australia, other countries represented at Thursday’s trade mission included Germany, Mexico, France, Spain, the Netherlands, Poland, Japan, Switzerland, Austria, South Korea and the Czech Republic.
Wisconsin Cranberry Growers Association Director Tom Lochner says the harvest is starting a few days early this year, even though a cool summer slowed the development of the crop. And despite the slow start, Lochner says this year’s harvest should be close to last year’s record crop of 4.4 million barrels. Wisconsin will be the nation’s top cranberry-producing state for the 15th straight year. The state produces over half the world’s cranberries.
WDLB’s Mike Warren contributed this report