Cranberry Farms Work With Nature

Gaynor Cranberry Company in Wisconsin Rapids is the latest feature farm for the Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation’s sustainability tour.

Manager and co-owner Heidi Slinkman says her family’s 212-acres of cranberries must be environmentally sustainable to continue on for more generations. Those 212 acres of cranberry vines are accompanied by about 2,000 acres of support land — wetlands.

She says the relationship between her family and the land is unique. The farm focuses on water quality, borrowing water from a reservoir shared with neighbors that’s swimmable, and supporting wildlife.

Right now, Gaynor Cranberry Company is harvesting its berries. During harvest and planting, the business hires additional employees to take on the labor-intensive work. To maintain a strong workforce on the farm, Slinkman says the farm offers a lot of great incentives, for example, a family-like environment, housing and full benefits.

In order to be economically efficient, Slinkman explains the business keeps a tight balance between labor and machinery.

Gaynor’s cranberries go to Ocean Spray to make craisins, juice or concentrate. Wisconsin is the No. 1 producer of cranberries in the nation with 250 growers on more than 21,000 acres. The Badger State produces more than half of the world’s supply of cranberries.