Cranberries are available in a wide variety of forms including fresh fruit, juice, sauce and dried. Juices and sauce are available year-round at grocery stores. The majority of cranberries are harvested between September and October. The most common way of harvesting is wet or water harvest. The beds are flooded and the fruit is "beaten" off the vine using a specialized harvester. The floating fruit is then corralled and loaded onto trucks for delivery. Cranberry Cocktails:
Cranberries, blueberries and the Concord grape are the only three fruits native to the United States and Canada. While commercial farms exist in nearly a dozen states, Wisconsin, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Oregon, Washington, and the Canadian provinces of British Columbia and Quebec account for most of the production worldwide.
The North American cranberry industry has a long and distinguished history. Native peoples used cranberries as food, in ceremonies and medicinally. Revolutionary War veteran Henry Hall planted the first commercial cranberry beds in Dennis Massachusetts in 1816. Today cranberries are farmed on approximately 40,000 acres (16,200 hectares) across the northern United States and Canada.
Cranberries are a rich source of dietary flavonoids and other phenolic acids. A growing body of evidence has linked the phytonutrients found in cranberries to a number of conditions, including the promotion of urinary tract health and the prevention of cardiovascular disease, certain stomach ulcers and even cancer.