Cranberries are (still) our foremost speciality, since Berrico made a fruitless attempt in 2001 to introduce the dried, sweetened cranberry to the consumer market as a healthy snack. However, the market appeared not to be ripe for it yet. But, our fascination with berries and particularly cranberries was born.
Of course we started our orientation in our own country, where there is a modest patch of established cranberries on the island of Terschelling. How did those plants arrive there? That is a curious story. Presumably they once fell off an American ship that was transporting a consignment of cranberries to England. A beachcomber with the fantastic name of Pieter Sipkes Cupido, brought one or more barrels to safety, thinking they contained whisky. When he saw that the barrels were filled with berries instead of drink, he flew into a rage. So much so, that he kicked the barrel to pieces with his wooden clog. Ever since, cranberries have grown on Terschelling – the world’s most southerly colony of Oxycoccus macrocarpus, for cranberries naturally occur in Canada and the northern United States.
On the Dutch mainland the related, native small cranberry and lingonberry occur. The latter is often confused with the cranberry, although it is actually family of the bilberry. The bilberry, in turn, is often confused with the blueberry, which it is completely unrelated to.
Cranberries, the true ones, originate in North America, where native tribes knew and valued the fruit for various reasons. Click here for the story of native tribes and the cranberry.