Why oversupply of cranberries could be big problem

Cranberries should be plentiful and pretty cheap this time of year, but that may change in the future.

Right now there is an oversupply of cranberries in the U.S., which has driven down the price of the fruit.

To fix that, the U.S. Department of Agriculture is recommending cutting cranberry production nationwide by as much as 25 percent.

Amber Schultz is a fifth-generation cranberry farmer with Russell Rezin & Son Cranberry Marsh Inc. in Warrens.

“No farmer wants to hear there’s an oversupply because that means prices are going to fluctuate a little bit, too. With farming, again, it goes through highs and lows,” Schultz said.

Over the last hundred years, her family farm has seen its share of hard times.

“We went through a low period in the late 90s and we bounced back thankfully and we are hoping that we do bounce back again,” Schultz said.

All of the cranberries grown on her family’s farm go to Ocean Spray.

“We’re trying to stay as positive as possible,” Schultz said.

Her family is hoping the oversupply of fruit won’t hurt their business, but they’re also preparing for the worst.

“We were able to set a two to three year plan just so we can be ready worst-case scenario does happen,” Schultz said.

She said it’s frustrating to think there may soon be limits on how many cranberries can be grown.

“It is a very labor intensive fruit so to hear that your product isn’t going to be used to its full potential is a little bit heartbreaking,” Schultz said.

But for now her family plans on growing as many cranberries as it can.

“We’re going to keep producing to our full potential because you know next year we could bounce right back and they could say ‘what oversupply?'” Schultz said.

And even though the future isn’t guaranteed Schultz can’t imagine doing anything else.

“It’s such a rewarding feeling seeing the berries get loaded up into the truck and taken away like you know we did that. Like our blood, sweat and tears went into that, and at the end of the day we can we’re very proud of what we did and just keep coming back next year,” Schultz said.

Schultz’s family farm will start harvesting cranberries next week.

And they should be done harvesting in October.

Schultz said they’ll know after harvest time how many of their cranberries will be used

Wisconsin is the nation’s largest supplier of cranberries.

According to the University of Wisconsin-Madison, the state produces 57 percent of the country’s supply of cranberries.

As a result, a lot of local farmers could be affected from the oversupply.