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Cranberries: The bitter berry that offers a sweet taste of success

Cranberries have been a staple at family gatherings ever since Indigenous people introduced the bitter berry to European colonists in the 15th century. Now they warm the hearts of millions of Canadians, especially during Thanksgiving and Christmas.
 
Quebec’s cool climate and short growing season allow organic cranberries to thrive in the region.
 
Cranberries are traditionally sweetened and cooked or dried to reduce some of their tartness so they won’t leave a bitter taste in your mouth. For many Quebec producers, the bitter berry offers a sweet taste of success.
 
North American cranberry harvesting began in the early 18th century and has developed over the years to the point where Quebec cultivated acreage now includes more than 10,145 acres, of which 3,944 acres are organic. With one-third of Quebec’s production being organic, the province is now the global leader in organic cranberry production. The province scores second for non-organic production after Wisconsin, United States.
 
The cranberry industry has faced several challenges in the last decade. The most significant challenge has been oversupply leading to price pressures for growers. Despite profitability challenges, Quebec cultivated acres climbed 79 per cent between 2009 and 2019, reaching 65 per cent of the total Canadian production in 2019. British Columbia accounted for 29 per cent of the Canadian market and Ontario and the Atlantic provinces round out the cultivated acres in Canada.
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