Workers harvest cranberries at Hopcott Farms. (Colleen Flanagan/THE NEWS)

Cranberry yield ‘down significantly’

Hopcott Farms reported half the yield of last year

The cranberry harvest has taken a hit this year across the province– Pitt Meadows being no exception.

The lower yield, however, was to be expected after a bumper crop in 2018, , according to the B.C. Cranberry marketing commission.

“The cranberry vines are rebuilding after last year’s top yield and some areas suffered winter damage earlier in the year,” said Jack Brown, chairman of the commission.

Travis Hopcott with Hopcott Farms in Pitt Meadows said his yield was about half the yield of last year.

Hopcott started his harvest mid-October and will be finishing up on Saturday.

He has four bogs, three that average about seven hectares each, and one that is only about two hectares.

Anywhere from nine to 13 people will be out in the bogs harvesting his crop.

Usually he harvests close to 680,389 kilograms of cranberries in an average year that are destined for Ocean Spray and sold internationally as Craisins. This year he said he harvested 317,515 kilograms at best.

RELATED: Bumper crop of cranberries this fall

He blames his low yield on the unique weather system that took place Feb. 9 and 10 this year.

Hopcott said the warmer winter meant the cranberries were just about waking up, a little bit earlier than normal. But, he said, those two days were cold, there was a clear sky, wind and the dew point was very low. “That’s what just made everything so dry,” said Hopcott.

So, instead of producing a fruity bud, the plants produced a vegetative bud.

The good thing about cranberries, noted Hopcott, is that they are cyclical.

“That usually means the plants will rebound the next year, even more so,” he said.

Cranberriesare grown just like any other plant, Hopcott explained. They want a moist and well drained soil and only during the harvest do they flood the field.

Initially they fill the bog with water to about 31 cm above the ground. Then they go into the field with a machine that looks like an eggbeater but on its side. The machine rotates and smacks the berries off the vine. Then they add in more water until the water level is about 62 cm above the ground. Workers will then use booms to corral the floating berries and drag them to the corner of the bog where they will be pumped into a container and sent to be cleaned.

RELATED: When farmland protection doesn’t protect farmers

Harvesting cranberries this way makes the most economic sense, said Hopcott.

“Foremost because cranberries aren’t really meant for fresh, so they don’t have to be as carefully handled, as a blueberry, most of that goes for fresh that are handpicked,” he said.

And he said, only five per cent of the cranberry yield will be earmarked for fresh with the remaining 95 per cent for processing.

There is so much interest in the cranberry harvest locally that Hopcott has started giving tours, in English and in Mandarin. Mon to Fri 10 a.m. and on the weekend at 1:30 p.m. Mandarin and English

There are 80 cranberry growers across B.C. that farm more than 2549 ha, (6300 acres), of cranberries. Around 95 per cent of B.C.’s growers belong to the Ocean Spray cooperative.

Nature’s Touch and Pacific Canadian Fruit Packers also purchase B.C. cranberries and package them as well as freezing, drying and creating other forms of cranberry products for the market.

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter


The Hopcott cranberry harvest should continue for another week. (Colleen Flanagan/THE NEWS)

More than 680,389 kilograms of cranberries are usually harvested at Hopcott Farms. (Colleen Flanagan/THE NEWS)

The Hopcott berries are sent to Ocean Spray where they are made into craisins and shipped internationally. (Colleen Flanagan/THE NEWS)

The cranberries are corralled to a corner of the bog where they will be pumped into a waiting container and sent to be cleaned. (Colleen Flanagan/THE NEWS)

About nine to 13 workers in addition to three managers will take care of the cranberry harvest at Hopcott Farms. (Colleen Flanagan/THE NEWS)

Just Posted

OP-ED: Nothing inconvenient about safe ride home

Operation Red Nose will drive you and your vehicle home in Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows.

Maple Ridge wants to push through to 240th Street

Council endorses another step for Abernethy Way extension

West Coast Express Santa Train coming to Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows

Free return ticket downtown Vancouver in exchange for donation for the Maple Ridge Pitt Meadows Christmas Hamper Society

LETTER: Nothing we do in Canada will effect climate change

Carbon tax is only mere virtue signalling.

Fashion Fridays: Ethical and sustainable gifts for the season

Kim XO, helps to keep you looking good on Fashion Fridays on the Black Press Media Network

Residents in B.C. city could face 133% tax hike in ‘worst case’ lawsuit outcome: report

An average home could see a tax increase of $2,164 in one year

Province wants to seize Langley property connected to drug lab

The Office of Civil Forfeiture is targeting a property on Fraser Highway

B.C. Transit scores 28 used fareboxes on eBay, saves $300,000

‘Someone joked maybe we can buy used fareboxes on eBay,’ CEO says

Many of Canada’s working poor can’t afford lawyers, don’t qualify for legal aid

One lawyer says many people earn too much to qualify for legal aid, but not enough to really live on

Economy lost 71,200 jobs in November, unemployment rate climbs to 5.9%

Jobless rate is at its highest since August 2018, when it hit 6%

VIDEO: John Lennon’s iconic Rolls Royce rolls into Vancouver Island college for checkup

Royal BC Museum, Camosun College and Coachwerks Restorations come together to care for car

VIDEO: Rockslide closes part of Highway 93 in Fairmont Hot Springs

Geotechnical team called in to do an assessment after rocks fell from hoodoos

Chilliwack mom gives back to neonatal unit with Christmas stocking drive

Ashley Durance is paying it forward to other families and their babies following daughter’s NICU stay

Most Read