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    Default Facts About Cranberries

    Once associated almost exclusively with Thanksgiving, cranberries today are found in no fewer than 700 food and beverage products on the market -- from cereals to salad dressings, muffins, frozen entrees, salsas and others. Last year alone, more than 200 new cranberry products entered into the marketplace.

    While fresh cranberry sales have remained fairly constant over the last two decades, there has been a boom in demand for processed cranberries. According to the USDA Cranberry Marketing Committee, in 1972 approximately 1.5 million barrels of berries were sold for processing. In 1994, nearly 5 million barrels were sold for the same purpose.

    According to industry experts, cranberries have grown in popularity because the public desires healthy, flavorful foods that are fun to eat. The cranberry is high in Vitamin C, minerals and fiber.

    Rakers and water wheels, specially designed for the unique cranberry harvest, and "bounce machines," used to test for quality berries, date back to the 1800s.

    There are more than 100 different cranberry varieties, many of which were named after the families that first planted them.

    If all the cranberry bogs in North America were put together they would be equal to an area just larger than Green Bay, Wisc., approximately 47 square miles.

    If you strung all the cranberries harvested in 1996 end-to end, they would stretch around the earth approximately 46 times.

    The 1996 national harvest was expected to yield more than 192 billion cranberries -- about 726 for every man, woman and child in the United States.

    Contrary to popular belief, cranberries do not grow in water. However, because cranberries float, marshes are flooded during harvest time.

    There are approximately 350 to 400 cranberries in a pound and approximately 100 pounds in a barrel.

    The cranberry was first called the "crane berry" by Dutch and German settlers because when the cranberry blossoms' light-pink petals twist back in spring they resemble the head and bill of a crane.

    American recipes containing cranberries date back to the early 18th century. Legend has it that Pilgrims served cranberries at the first Thanksgiving.

    During World War II, American troops ate about 1 million pounds of cranberries a year.

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