February 16 - 1976: When we lost first place in cranberries

2007: Governor may declare "fishing disaster"
Cranberry harvesting at AD Makepeace in Wareham. Photo by Maggie Kulbokas.

1976: Wisconsin surpasses Bay State in cranberry growing

August heat wave here blamed for the loss

On this day in 1976 the Bay State dropped from first place in the ranks of cranberry producing states when Wisconsin took that distinction as reported by the Christian Science Publishing Society -

Massachusetts cranberry growers are hoping to turn a disastrous 1975 harvest into a profitable price boost at the supermarket.

... As late as October, cranberry growers were predicting a 1975 harvest of up to one million barrels in Massachusetts. The final figure for the harvest was only 815,000 barrels, with a Cape Cod heat wave in August blamed for much of the loss.

An embarrassing result of the poor harvest was that, for the first time, Wisconsin's cranberry harvest (825,000 barrels in 1975) exceeded that in Massachusetts.

Three decades later, Wisconsin produced more than half the nation's cranberries, followed by Massachusetts, New Jersey, Oregon and Washington, according to the Agricultural Marketing Resource Center.

Cranberries were first successfully cultivated in 1816 by Captain Henry Hall in the town of Dennis.

"Of all fruits, only three - the blueberry, the Concord grape and the cranberry can trace their roots to North American soil," states the Cape Cod Cranberry Growers' Association.

2007: Federal disaster designation for fishing industry considered

Governor mulls impact of regulations on fleet

Gov. Deval Patrick said on this day in 2007 that he is leaning toward seeking a federal disaster declaration for the state's fishing communities after hearing "compelling" arguments from port officials about the economic impact of federal regulations in the past decade.  "I am inclined to seek that declaration," Patrick told reporters. "I am concerned about the strength of the arguments we have and if we have all the data we need to make those arguments."

The declaration, if granted by the U.S. Secretary of Commerce, would allow Congress to appropriate money to fishermen and other businesses that are tied to the industry. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration first would have to declare there was a fisheries resource disaster that was beyond the ability of fisheries managers to mitigate.

Photo on right at the Chatham Fish Pier.


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