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Cranberry Industry Hits A Sour Spot04:29
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Cranberries at Decas Cranberry Company in Carver (Andrew Phelps/WBUR)
Cranberries at Decas Cranberry Company in Carver (Andrew Phelps/WBUR)

The cranberry is in a sour spot. A large crop yield has crowded the market with the small, sometimes bitter fruit. As of last week, the crop was up six percent from last year and prices are still softening.

But shouldn't a healthy crop be good news?

Not necessarily. In fact, overproduction could challenge an industry already hurt by the recession and serious infighting.  The industry leaders — Ocean Spray, Inc., and Decas Cranberry — find themselves in court for the second time in two years, this time over Decas' use of social media to raise concerns about an Ocean Spray dried cranberry product.

These numbers have industry leaders thinking about the future of the cranberry in a big way. Think India-big, Malaysia-big.  The idea of expanding the market to include Asian and European markets aims to boost the annual 26 percent export rate.

But these lofty goals come with serious challenges. The cranberry, often an acquired taste for many Americans, does not necessarily translate to these new markets.  This is true in the most literal sense; some countries don't even have a word for "cranberry." Nevertheless, industry officials believe globalizing the small red fruit may be the best way to secure a brighter, redder future.

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This program aired on August 23, 2010.

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