WISCONSIN RAPIDS, Wis. -- Northland Cranberries here has reported it has acquired three Wisconsin cranberry marshes totaling 286 cultivated acres.
The transaction, which cost $18 million in cash and promissory notes, and 62,500 shares of Northland Class A common stock, includes 1,800 acres of support land, the 1994 crop, buildings, equipment and approximately 150 acres that can be used for future expansion.
Northland purchased the marshes from the Yellow River Cranberry Co. and the Wolfe Cranberry Co., both in Nekoosa, Wis., according to John Pazurek, vice president of finance and treasurer of Northland.
Approximately 210 of the acres will be harvested this year, said John Swendrowski, president of Northland. The rest are expected to mature over the next three years, he said.
"Nearly all of the acreage is planted in high-yielding hybrid vines, which should allow us to dramatically increase our fresh fruit supply over the next few years," said Swendrowski.
Pazurek said Northland is committed to growing more fresh cranberries for sale in supermarkets, and plans to upgrade one of its processing plants to increase fresh cranberry production, he said.
Pazurek said it is easier and cheaper to grow cranberries for production in fruit drinks and other processed foods. Many growers aren't willing to make the effort to grow the quality needed for fresh fruit, he said, which has contributed to shortages for the past three years. With 2,257 acres of cranberries under cultivation in 17 cranberry marshes, Northland says it is the world's largest cranberry grower.