Michigan Cranberry Company started out as an idea, with some potential, in the mind of Wally Huggett back in 1980. In the middle of his sod fields, in the Thumb of Michigan, Wally first started experimenting with growing cranberries commercially. The peat base soil in that location had been farmed for many years and it proved to be too high Ph for viable cranberry growth. Still wanting to try his hand at cranberry farming, Wally searched throughout Michigan for the exact type of land in which to start a commercial cranberry farm.
An abandoned peat mining operation in Cheboygan County came to his attention. This location, being less than five miles from Lake Huron, supplied a good snow cover for winter frost protection on the vines. A high water table to provide a closed irrigation and flooding system, rich peat soil with a low ph and a good mix of sand, made this land ideal for constructing a cranberry marsh.
In 1991 Michigan Cranberry Company was formed. The first beds were planted in 1993 with a respectable harvest in 1998. Currently we are harvesting over three million pounds of cranberries on 150 acres of cranberry beds. In 2010 an additional 70 acres of cranberry beds were planted. Michigan Cranberry Company is the largest cranberry marsh in the State of Michigan, accounting for three-fourths of the state’s crop.
The majority of our cranberries are sold directly to processors and wholesale packers. Through brokers, we have exported cranberries to Asia, Australia, East & West Europe and Canada. We have an onsite cleaning and color sorting line that all our cranberries go through. Depending on our requirements, they are then shipped to a packaging plant or direct to the freezer to wait further processing.
Wally, along with his wife Sharon, have been farming since 1960 when they purchased a small sod farm in Sanilac County from Wally’s father, Dow Huggett. Over the next forty years they raised four children and expanded the sod farm to 800 acres. In the early 1980’s they started a sod farm in the north Dallas area of Texas. That farm has since grown to 900 acres and supplies sod all across northern Texas.
Working hard and enjoying what you do has always been the secret of Wally and Sharon’s success. Growing cranberries in northern Michigan is just one more success story of their lives.