FREE ENTERPRISE — A THANKSGIVING STAPLE, THE CRANBERRY IS ALSO AN INSANELY FASCINATING FRUIT. (TRUST US.)
PLYMPTON, Mass. — U.S. Chamber of Commerce — Cranberry sauce is a classic Thanksgiving staple, with its characteristic can-shape and ridged rings. But have you ever thought about where the actual fruit comes from? We did, so we spoke with Jeff LaFleur, a cranberry farmer and owner of Mayflower Cranberries.
It only takes a few minutes of talking with LaFleur to realize there is a lot more that goes into cranberry farming than you might have realized. For starters, the cranberry is one of only three fruits native to North America that are commercially grown, according to the Cape Cod Cranberry Growers Association. (The other two are the blueberry and the Concord grape.)
There are also more than 100 varieties of cranberries, which Native Americans ate for hundreds of years before they were first cultivated in the early 19th century. While this was all news to us, LaFleur was pretty familiar with the cranberry even before he purchased his farm seven years ago. LaFleur not only studied agriculture in college, but also represented the industry for 20 years, working in public policy in various capacities at the Cape Cod Cranberry Growers Association.
LaFleur’s familiarity with the industry and cranberries in general helped him with the transition to actual farming. His connections have helped him along the way, as he’s teamed with industry researchers to study and better understand the fruit. “I think one of the things that I took to heart was that I really came at farming from a different perspective,” LaFleur tells Free Enterprise.
Image courtesy of Mayflower Cranberries