Monday, October 26, 2009

Cranberry Harvest

This weekend we made the trek down to my parent's house to help with harvest.  My parents own a cranberry farm down in Bandon and October through mid-November is always harvest time.  It's sad that we could only make it for a few days, but October is always a busy month for a teacher and getting away for more than the weekend is almost impossible.  This was actually the first time Joe has been able to come down and see the process. People always ask me how cranberries grow and are harvested and if you are one of those interested in knowing a quick synopsis on how a cranberry farms works, scroll down below all the wonderful pictures.

Okay for those curious souls who want to know...
No cranberries are not grown in the water. The water is only for harvest. They grow in bogs which are, in our case, two acres of vines surrounded by dikes. If you are interested in what a bog looks like when it is not being harvested google it. It is a lot pretty during harvest and hence this is what always comes to mind when people think of cranberries. It definitely makes for better commercials.
There is actually two forms of harvest: wet and dry picking. Only the berries picked through the dry technique can be marketed as fresh berries. We use the wet method. To do this, you flood the bog with water when use what is called a beater to, what else, beat the berries. Then all the berries float to the top of the water and are corralled using boom boards which are two boards screwed together in a T. You string all the boom boards together and use these to move the floating berries where you want them to go. Our boom boards are yellow (thanks to a summers hard work by my sister and I who made all of them) as you can see in the above pictures. Once the berries are corralled you then push them up an elevator which moves them onto a truck. Of course this is just my take on the harvest. :) For a more detailed account, try Wikipedia, theirs isn't bad.

This is a great picture of the whole opperation

Here I am pushing the berries onto the elevator

And there is my dad making sure the berries go where he wants them to.


The Finch's said...

That was really interesting and I thank you for sharing. I did not realize your parents had a cranberry farm! That is awesome! Your pictures are great too! You are getting some really good family shots too! Glad that you were able to visit the fam with all three of you this time!
Andrew and Kathleen

Katie Willard said...

Ashley this is SO cool. That first picture you posted is ADORABLE of all 3 of you :)

Princess Jessie Pants said...

SO cool Ashley! You guys also got some great family pics!! Glad you had a good time!!