Organic Cranberries - Ruesch Century Farm
World's Smallest Organic Cranberry Bog
The news keeps rolling in! The Rodale Institute interviewed Brian Ruesch about the farm. Also, you can read an article from the Voice of Wisconsin Rapids here.
Family farming in Central Wisconsin is a way of life. Measures are being taken to preserve this time honored tradition.
The organic cranberry marsh is operated like a commercial marsh: water, weeding etc. However, rather than pesticides to kill insects and herbicides to kill grass, we employ natural methods to keep grass under control and use natural methods to kill the black headed fire-worm and cranberry fruit worm (flooding in late May for BHFW). Flooding suppresses weed growth and kills fruit worm eggs.
Yields are not high, especially at first. There is more work, but also satisfaction in knowing that you have raised a crop of fruit that has not been chemically touched in any way. Since it is a small marsh, the tools we use are limited to a mechanical cranberry rake (and knuckle grease), so you get berries off the vines without flooding first.
At various times throughout the year, different numbers of people are involved in the cranberry production process. In the summer, it just takes one person to watch the berries, but in the fall 5-10 people are needed for harvest, sorting and packaging. In this way, the job hasn't really changed at all since we started 15 years ago, although more people are willing to help sort now because there are a lot more berries to go around.