On Wednesday, Masschusetts state senators JohnKerry and Scott Brown launched the bipartisan, bicameral Congressional Cranberry Caucus.
According to Kerry’s press release, “Too many people think of farming as happening somewhere other than Massachusetts and that’s a perception we have to fight. America’s cranberry production began on the Cape in 1816, and ever since, this storied industry has provided jobs and homegrown industry that matters to Massachusetts. We’ve got over 600 farms today in Massachusetts that are putting people to work in this business,” said Sen. Kerry. “This is a bi-partisan effort, not only to raise awareness about health, but to talk about a local industry that creates jobs and tourism and spin-off industries. This is an educational effort.”
“Cranberries are an iconic Massachusetts farm product, and I’m pleased to join my colleagues from Massachusetts and other cranberry producing states in founding the Congressional Cranberry Caucus,” said Sen. Brown. “This caucus will provide a platform for the cranberry industry to educate members of Congress and the public about the health benefits of cranberries, and matters related to their production and processing. With over 615 farms in our state, the cranberry industry is a major employer in Massachusetts and a force for our local economies. From the bogs to the processing facilities, employees in the cranberry industry should be proud of the products they produce.”
Massachusetts is the proud home of Ocean Spray, an agricultural cooperative of more than 700 cranberry growers in Massachusetts, Wisconsin, New Jersey, Oregon, Washington, British Columbia and Quebec, in addition to hundreds of independent growers, many of whom are multi-generation families who have been involved in cranberry growing for decades. In 2011, Massachusetts cranberry production totaled 2.35 million barrels, 24 percent above the production level in 2010, with growers harvesting 13,000 acres of cranberries.
The Cranberry Caucus launched at a time when sugary drinks are being targeted by public health advocates like New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who blame big sodas and other beverages for making people fat. Bloomberg recently proposed banning the sale of sugary drinks in containers larger than 16 ounces in restaurants, movie theaters and delis.
Nobody at the event mentioned that cranberry juice — at least the kind anyone would want to drink — has more sugar than soda.
As any cook who has made homemade cranberry sauce for Thanksgiving, cranberries don’t taste good without a ton of sugar. That’s why 8 ounces of OceanSpray 100% Juice Cranberry Blend has 36 grams of the sweet stuff — 9 grams more than can be found in 8 ounces of Coca-Cola.
There is a method to the madness.