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Highlights Archives

Cranberry Farming in Wisconsin

A man wearing waders walks knee-deep through floating cranberries
WHI 88122

Whether baked into luscious quick breads, suspended in Jell-O, or served by themselves, cranberries are a memorable part of most holiday dinners. The first New England settlers received them from local Indians, and during the 17th century cranberries were a staple of the Colonial diet. Like Thanksgiving itself, they spread from Massachusetts across the rest of the nation during the 19th century.

An Iconic American Berry

Wisconsin played a key role in making the humble cranberry an American icon. Cranberries have been grown commercially here for more than 150 years. As in New England, American Indians introduced the first settlers to the virtues of the tart red berry.

This month's gallery of historic images from the Society's visual archives presents more than 130 pictures of cranberry growing, harvesting and advertising through the decades. So as you wait for your cranberry Jell-O to set this week, take a break and explore where it all started.

:: Posted November 21, 2011

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