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Cranberry harvesting in Brest Oblast

Cranberry harvesting in Brest Oblast
16 Oct 2019

Autumn is in full swing, and farmers in Brest Oblast are busy gathering cranberries from flooded fields. Polesskie Zhuraviny has been in the business of growing “zhuraviny” (the Belarusian for cranberries) for more than 30 years. Polesskie Zhuraviny is one of Europe's biggest cranberry producers.

The brand has a very interesting history. Cranberries have grown in Polesie bogs for centuries and have always been a source of vitamins for the locals. However, wild cranberries are small. It is toilsome to pick them in large amounts. In 1985, the first cranberry plantation as big as 84.29 hectares was planted near the village of Selishche in Pinsk District. The first cranberry varieties planted there were Stevens, Ben Lear, Searles, McFarlin, Howes, Early Black, Pilgrim, and Crowley. Fields are divided into plots of 1 hectare or 1.25 hectares and are fitted with an irrigation system. A new field yields the first harvest in three or four years and can be utilized for up to 100 years.

The cranberry harvesting season in Belarus usually starts in late September – early October. Over the years, the enterprise has perfected the cultivation technology and the harvesting method. The largest berries are hand-picked. After that, fields are flooded with water and tractors drive onto the fields to knock berries from plants. Berries are then corralled together and loaded into trailers.

Polesskie Zhuraviny annually gathers rich harvests: 350-500 tonnes on average, sometimes up to 650 tonnes. Most of the harvest is exported to Russia, Lithuania, Latvia, Poland, the UK, Germany, and other countries. The rest is processed for the domestic market. Belarusian retail chains sell frozen and dried cranberries, cranberry jams, marmalades, and juices all year round. Moreover, cranberries in powdered sugar have already become one of the most popular souvenirs from Belarus.

Polesskie Zhuraviny cranberry fields in our photos

Cranberry harvesting in Belarus
Cranberry harvesting in Brest Oblast
Cranberry harvesting in Brest Oblast
Cranberry harvesting in Brest Oblast
Cranberry harvesting in Brest Oblast
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