Cranberries on Ice – Day 12

I dropped in at Jenkins Bog, just to see how the berries looked this time of year.

And was treated to a colorful, textured “feast for the eyes”!

Along the banks of every ditch that I came to…

I found colorful berries, red, yellow and pink, nestled in for a long, winter’s nap.

But the neatest thing of all, in the places where moving water had slowly turned to ice in the bog…

I found cranberries scattered here and there, frozen into the ice!

I felt transported, as if were walking through some abstract art gallery…

Bedazzled by blurry, plump berries covered over with layers of icy “varnish” in their newly frozen world.

Talk about a nice surprise in the middle of winter!  😉


Bog Girl’s First Cranberry Harvest – Berry Roundup, Day 2

I got to Jenkins’ Bog early on the second day of the harvest…

Just in time to see a skittish group of mallards paddling quickly past.

The eggbeater had left the water floating with as many twigs and leaves as berries, yet the ducks seemed to make it through just fine!

Everything looked so calm.

The berries floating on the water belied the drama that was about to unfold.

For the Jenkins team was there with their trucks and rakes and ready to get started!

I noticed something new this time; a huge “spindle” wound with long black booms, like the kind fishermen use.

The trucks and equipment were heading to the far end of the bog where the cranberries had settled overnight.

What looked like huge vacuum hoses were rolled out and connected.

One harvester dragged the end…

Out into the middle of the great pool of cranberries.

Four stakes were hammered into place to mark the spot.

Time for a roundup!

The two ends of a floating boom were slowly dragged out…

A great, ever-tightening circle of cranberries began to take shape.

At last, the two ends of the boom were joined at the main suction point, making the circle complete.

The first cranberry raft was ready for harvesting, and the combination of sunshine, clouds and berries on the water could not have made a more perfect autumn picture for all of us who’d come to watch!

Next on the scene was a huge trailer truck.

It pulled up alongside the machines that were there to prep the cranberries as they came up out of the bog.
A crowd had gathered to watch.

Some were truly adorable.

Others, well, kinda’ noisy and distracting if you ask me!  😉

Just then I noticed one of the harvesters was climbing the ladder on the truck.

While one of the workers who’d manned the booms…

Began raking the cranberries inside the raft, moving the berries gently along toward the suction pump.

The other worker slowly tightened the boom.

From the other side I could see where the leaves and twigs were getting separated from the berries as they were vacuumed up out of the bog.

And as the water was removed from the berries it then got funneled back into the bog. Good recycling!

Then it was time for the berries to get a bath.

A row of powerful washers sprayed the berries as they came through.

I could feel the mist on my face…

It was this worker’s job to keep the berries moving efficiently…

Using his rake to carefully guide them.

As they tumbled forward like a great red waterfall…

Onto the trailer truck below.

Another worker manned the big trailer truck.

Inching it forward as the berries filled the bed.

This would be the cranberries’ ride to the Ocean Spray processing plant for processing and packaging them for juice and cranberry sauce.

As I walked along the edge of the bog, I couldn’t help notice that there was   incredible beauty along the outskirts of the harvest as well.

Here is a brief slideshow that shows some of what I found. Such a nice break from the bustle of the berry harvest.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

By the time I got back to the trucks, the first load of cranberries had left and  everyone had packed up for the day.

The harvest rakes had been loaded onto the truck.

The booms were still, waiting for the next day’s harvest.

The boom spindle had gone quiet, too.

In the waning light, the berries on the water looked to me like something out of a Monet painting, complete with clouds rolling by overhead.

It had been a successful day of harvesting…

I already couldn’t wait for next year’s harvest to begin!

Bog Girl’s First Cranberry Harvest – Day 1

It should not have come as such a big surprise to me that my first cranberry harvest felt like a homecoming.

Still it’s taken me nearly a month to realize that what had so deeply touched me about the whole experience was something that was already very much a part of me.

You see I grew up on an old deserted cranberry bog, right behind our house.

The bog was like a secret world to me,  way out beyond the pines and silver leafs that have long since overtaken the cranberry vines and hidden the bog from view.

I can remember spending hours out there playing hide ‘n seek with our kitties, riding gallant stick horses and jumping the ditches and often falling into them, which was all part of the fun!

What’s more, our family house was built on the site of the Kendrick Barrel Factory that burned down in the 1950’s; they made cranberry crates and fish boxes.

This fall I happened to ask the local Chamber if anyone knew when the cranberries were going to be harvested. And everyone told me the same thing, “It’s different every year, just keep checking and one day, it’ll happen!”

So I became a “bog stalker”. For weeks I drove by Jenkins’ Bog off Headwater Drive here in Harwich, checking to see if anything had happened yet.

Finally, one day I noticed that the bog was filling with water. I’d heard it could take up to 18 inches of water to harvest the ripened berries, and it sure looked like it was well on its way to reach that goal.

Right off the bat I spotted some new friends who seemed enthralled with the sudden emergence of a whole new feeding ground!

As for me, I was feeling mesmerized by the sight of the cranberries that were already floating in the still blue water.

I could see many, many more just below the surface, still nestled among their vines.

But this was no time to dawdle; the harvesters were arriving in their trucks.

Time to get to work!

Signs were posted asking visitors to keep out of the water.

We were being given the chance to witness, up close, a real live crop harvest, Cape Cod style. It didn’t seem like too much to ask.

Just then I noticed up ahead that one of the water reel harvesters, “egg-beaters” as they call them, had arrived.

The odd-looking gas-powered machine rolled slowly down into the water.

Driven by a single operator…

The harvester was carefully guided through the bog; the spinning rollers on the front of the machine stirred up the water.

Someone mentioned that the smaller roller on the one side might be helpful handling cranberries along the edges of the bog.

So much to see and learn, and the magic had only just begun!

From where I stood I could see how the agitation caused by the eggbeater was literally shaking the cranberries loose from their vines.

Hundreds of tiny berries were flipping in all directions in the churning water…

Catching the light as they flew along in the froth and bubbles.

And once the eggbeater moved along by, the berries remained behind, floating on the surface of the water. Like tiny bobbers!

I found myself drawn to the movements and reflections of the berries along the edges of the bog.

Clusters of berries and leaves, constantly moving, would temporarily join, then break away and join with others.

The sight was so calming to me, almost hypnotic.

Reluctantly, at long last, I looked down at my watch and realized that I had to go.

Just as I turned to leave, one of the farm hands gave me such a look of longing, almost as if he was asking why I had to leave so soon.

But I promised him I’d be back, tomorrow for sure.

After all, I was home in the bog once again!  😉

Check out Part II – “Berry Roundup, Day 2”!

A Cape Cod Harvest

I had the most amazing time watching this year’s cranberry harvest at a local Harwich bog.

For 6 days, off and on, I dropped in on the harvesting process, captivated by this Cape Cod crop that’s been grown here for 200 years.

It only took me 50 plus years to finally watch one from start to finish!  😉

The important things is, I got here.

NOW I just need some time to get some photos ready to share. So stay tuned for more!!!