Vibrant cranberries harvested before Thanksgiving

ILWACO, Wash. (AP) — Each fall, cranberry bogs in Washington state produce solid hues of vibrant red as one of the state’s lesser-known crops is harvested in the months before Thanksgiving.

This year’s estimated crop of about 170,000 barrels (8,500 tons) of cranberries puts the apple-giant state fifth in the U.S. behind Wisconsin and Massachusetts, the two states that produce the bulk of the crop.

Malcolm and Ardell McPhail have operated CranMac Farm for more than 35 years, one of the largest and oldest cranberry farms in the state.

Their harvest of about 1,000 tons of cranberries this year is slightly down from 2015, but Malcolm says new varieties are increasing the yield-per-acre from the peat-rich soil on his farm and others.

The resulting surplus nationally has driven prices down, but McPhail says he remains optimistic. “It’s nice to grow a healthy crop,” he said, and added “We hardly eat a meal that we don’t have cranberries.”