Monroe County: Cranberry Country

Local News

FOX 25/48 is celebrating Monroe County this week as part of our County by County series. We’ll feature important parts of the area and show you what it has to offer. Tonight FOX 25/48’s Erin O’Brien travels to cranberry country and explains what’s behind a popular juice company’s success.

“You may have heard of Ocean Spray, but what you may not know is that it’s actually a cooperative owned by more than 700 families. They’re the ones that actually grow and harvest the fruit.”

One of those 700 members of Ocean Spray is Ed Grygleski.  He’s a third generation cranberry farmer from Tomah. His world revolves around cranberries and he has the results to prove it.

“On our 240 acres we grow about 60 through 70 thousand barrels. In a barrel there’s one hundred pounds, so we’re about 6 to 7 million pounds.”

To most people it might just seem like a simple fruit but Grygleski says Ocean Spray is changing the game when it comes to cranberries.

“We grow the cranberries and we ship them over to Ocean Spray which is just a few miles down the road.”

“They’ve diversified in so many areas and allowed cranberries to be introduced in ways we never imagined.”

From there they are made into craisins and into juice.

Although cranberries are grown nationwide, and particularly in the upper Midwest, Grygleski says there’s just something about Monroe County that’s perfect for the fruit.

“Monroe County is blessed with a lot of water and a lot of sand. And the right ph so cranberries need, they need low ph like around 5 and then plenty of water and plenty of sand so it’s one of the reasons why Monroe County is a great spot to grow cranberries.”

In the future, Grygleski hopes to keep the farm in the family and see his children take over as fourth generation cranberry farmers.

In Tomah, Erin O’Brien, FOX 25/48 News at 9.

Keep watching First News at 9 this week as FOX 25/48 continues to highlight special parts of Monroe County, and be sure watch Saturday, September 3rd at six p-m for a 30-minute special on the area. For more information visit WIproud.com and head to the County by County page.

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