Thanksgiving Preparations…cranberries at the source

cranberry resized

As promised, I returned to the Cranberry Bog for Fall Harvest. Never actually having seen it in action it was quite an amazing sight. I walk these paths around the Bog rather frequently and up until last week was concerned I could only catch the faintest hint of berry or any other reddish hue amidst the sandy soil. So when I went out this Sunday I was surprised to find, not the low lying plants and sand I had become acquainted with, but a completely submerged parcel of land resembling a large pond or marsh area. Along with this newly created body of water was an unmistakable sea of red.

As I walked closer what I found were thousands of shiny ripe cranberries floating in close formation in the water. Beyond this flotilla were two men on foot (I think) and one in a machine called a water reel that uses horizontal paddles to detach the berries from their vines, herding them toward a upward sloping conveyor belt of sorts. This evidently separates the berry from the water, channeling the berries into the back of a truck.

It’s really a remarkable site to see the entire landscape transform overnight. It was hard to resist reaching down and plucking from the waters edge these brilliant red berries. But as I walked the boundary I quickly understood I was not the only one who would consider going for ultimate freshness. As I pondered my next move, my eyes were directed toward a sign requesting a little self-control. A warning to keep one’s hands out of the bog and wait until the berries found their way into jars and other offerings at The Great Brook Farm for purchase. So for anyone craving an early start on Thanksgiving, your jars, pies, sauce, etc. will be waiting for you at Great Brook! (This entry was first published in Fall 2007)