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Business and Economy

Good Weather Boosts Maine's Cranberry Harvest

ORONO, Maine - With just a few harvesters not yet tallied, Maine's cranberry numbers have rebounded from last year's slump.

"A hundred and ten barrels per acre would be average, and last year was probably about half of that," says Cooperative Extension cranberry specialist Charlie Armstrong.

Armstrong says last summer's wet July interfered with pollination, but conditions this year were more ideal, and have resulted in good quality fruit. "Growers are saying that it had 1 percent or less fruit rot," he says.

Armstrong says he expects the total crop to be about 1.5 million pounds - about 15,000 barrels - average levels or slightly above.

Prices for field-flooded, wet-harvested cranberries, mostly destined for large processors like Ocean Spray, have slumped to about 20 cents per pound.

Much of Maine's cranberries are harvested dry and sold locally, fetching at least $1 per pound. Organic fruits are averaging $4 to $5 per pound.