A worker harvests cranberries at the Golden Eagle Cranberry Farm along Rannie Road. (THE NEWS files)

A worker harvests cranberries at the Golden Eagle Cranberry Farm along Rannie Road. (THE NEWS files)

Bumper crop of cranberries this fall

Golden Eagle Farms harvests record 36 million pounds in Pitt Meadows

Cranberry farmers are enjoying a record-setting crop as they flood their fields in harvesting the popular turkey dinner side dish.

Golden Eagle is a subsidiary of the Aquilini Investment Group, best known as the owners of the NHL’s Vancouver Canucks.

Golden Eagle also harvests cranberries in Pitt Meadows, and company spokesperson Jim Chu said the 2018 yield is a best-ever 36 million pounds.

“We’re really happy with it – the crop is a bumper crop,” said Chu.

Considering that the province’s 80 cranberry growers – who are all situated in the Lower Mainland and on Vancouver Island – produce a combined 84 million pounds in a typical year, the Golden Eagle contribution is more than a third of that.

With more than 1,500 acres of cranberry bogs, Golden Eagle is one of the largest growers in the Ocean Spray Cooperative.

Golden Eagle’s experience is being repeated around the province.

Mike Wallis, executive director of the B.C. Cranberry Growers Association, said all cranberry farmers are reporting excellent returns.

“It could be a record-breaking crop for B.C.,” he said.

The high mark now is 100 million pounds for the province, and he estimates it could be as high as 120 million this year. Last year, the crop was 90 million pounds.

The reasons for the high yield are good pollenation combined with the right weather conditions, he added.

“Farmers try to do as much as they can to get a good crop, and then everything falls into place,” said Wallis.

Another reason for the increase may be producers have planted different varietals that are higher yielding, and these new plants are maturing and becoming more productive, added Wallis.

In a typical year, B.C. producers grow 12 per cent of the cranberries in North America.

Most of it is used for cranberry juice.

Read More: Much Pitt Meadows farmland left fallow