There's only one cranberry farm in Minnesota, and it's run by a 21-year-old woman and her brother

For this second-generation farmer, harvest is a beautiful season - and a big responsibility


November 17, 2023

Renee Jones-Schneider, Star Tribune

Shannon Forster and Vince Brambrink dragged in cranberries in a flooded field so that they are condensed for harvest on Oct. 12, 2023, in Palisade, Minn. Minnesota has only one commercial farmer, the Minnesota Cranberry Co. near Aitkin, run by the Forster family for 20-plus years.

Harvest season at Minnesota Cranberry Co., near Aitkin, looks like a crimson-colored carpet spread over a pond. The tiny floating berries, corralled in the corner of a flooded bog, are nearly a foot deep - practically begging to be scooped up, swirled, or dived into.

It's nature's version of a ball pit. Or a chic Instagram backdrop.

But for Shannon Forster and her family, cranberry harvest is a job that doubles as a CrossFit-grade workout.

Forster and her uncle, wearing waders in knee-deep water, pull on each end of a long, floating boom that encircles a load of cranberries. Though each berry weighs hardly anything, dragging thousands of them across the bog requires plenty of strength.


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