A group of cranberry farmers in Atlantic Canada now have an expanded facility in Richibucto, N.B. to help them store and add value to their product.
The Atlantic Mist Cranberries Inc.’s new processing facility, which is owned by 10 farmers who built and operate it collectively, will clean, grade, freeze and package the berries.
The facility expansion was made possible by funding through the federal government’s Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA), and the Province of New Brunswick.
ACOA provided a $500,000 repayable loan and the province assisted with an investment of $363,400.
“This new facility, owned by farmers, will enable our cranberry growers to package premium Grade A fruit for export, primarily to Europe, thus adding value to their crop,” says Ken Streatch, president of Sunberry Cranberry Producers and chairman of the board of Atlantic Mist Cranberries.
According to an article on NewBrunswickBusinessJournal.com, pricing for cranberries is complex and can fluctuate dramatically based on demand.
This leaves New Brunswick producers vulnerable to dramatic changes.
By freezing and storing the berries at the new facility the growers will be able to select the best time to sell their fruit.
This means they can avoid being forced to ship the berries to processors and get whatever price they happen to be paying at harvest time. They can instead speculate on what prices might be.
New Brunswick currently has 22 cranberry producers who harvest between 3.6 million kg and 4.5 million kg of berries annually.
Since 2009, six of those producers have increased the size of their fields.