Cranberries are widely known for their health benefits, but they’re not so healthy for the environment… Here are some things you should know about the dark side of cranberry farming – and how to choose a safer cranberry this holiday season.
What’s Thanksgiving dinner without cranberries? These tart and beautiful little red fruits have become an essential element on the “Turkey Day” table – just as necessary as, well, turkey! Cranberries aren’t only gorgeous to look at and tasty in jelly form, but they are also full of healthy vitamin C and other antioxidants.
Here are just a few of the health benefits of cranberries, according to The Food Revolution Network:
While they are best known for their protection against urinary tract infections or UTIs, they provide powerful antioxidant protection and anti-inflammatory benefits. They also have:
This explains why cranberries have been highly praised in recent years as a healthy “superfood,” but did you know that they’re not actually all that healthy for the environment? In fact, the way these little jewel-like fruits are grown and harvested actually has some pretty nasty consequences.
Below are some of the facts about the dark side of cranberry farming, plus some tips for choosing cranberries that are safer and healthier for both you and the environment:
If you were to believe the ads of the world’s leading supplier of cranberry products, Ocean Spray, you would think cranberry farming is clean, natural, and safe. But most of it isn’t.
For one, cranberries aren’t easy to grow. Cranberry farmers often use a variety of toxic chemicals to keep their production rates high, such as chlorothalonil, carbaryl, and pronamide. And most farmers believe chemicals are necessary for growing them.
…(Here’s) how chemical-based cranberry farming affects the environment.Cranberry bogs (beds layered with sand, peat, gravel, and clay) are pumped with water right before harvest, so the water mixes with the chemicals. And then, that water ends up being sent through dams, ditches, and pumps, and ends up in local bodies of water.
You might think cranberry farms are under some sort of government oversight, but due to a loophole, they aren’t.
So is it possible to avoid all the chemicals and eat organic cranberries?
Yes! You can find cranberries from some sustainable companies out there, such as Fresh Meadow Farms, Cranberry Hill Farms, and Starvation Alley.
And there’s hope that the industry could be changing. In particular, Starvation Alley plans to change the way farmers grow cranberries by encouraging cranberry farmers to grow their produce organically.
If you want to avoid cranberries produced in a toxic way this holiday season, buying organic is your best option.