Washington's Cranberry Coast
Kim Patten PhD
For 100 miles along the western edge of Washington State, an unusual agricultural community hugs the Pacific shoreline. Bogs of bright cranberries stretch from the Long Beach Peninsula at the mouth of the Columbia River north to Grayland, Ocean Shores, and Copalis Crossing. Here, along this remote stretch of stormy seacoast, is a prime farming center for a fruit that grows in very few areas on earth. For countless centuries before pioneer settlement, indigenous peoples harvested the wild cranberries that thrived in boggy regions of the coast. When enterprising mid-19th-century settlers saw the possibilities for a vigorous cranberry farming venture, they faced many challenges before success could be achieved. Theirs is the story of hardworking, forward-thinking people who have become leaders in their field.