To help support the farm, we had an opportunity through Ocean Spray to get into cranberries. So, in 1997, we converted 70 acres used for corn, into 5 square shaped cranberry bogs.
In the spring, temperature probes in the fields will automatically turn on water sprinklers when it drops below freezing to protect the forming buds.
The low creeping cranberry vines are pruned every year with a special pruning machine.
Pollination needs to happen in June & July. To accomplish this, we rent bee hives that are placed in the bogs.
It takes 3 hives per acre, with approximately 25,000 bees per hive. That’s about 5 million bees!
Dry picking begins at the end of September to sell fresh in our store and at farmers markets.
Wet picking starts mid October. The fields are flooded using water from a nearby river. One bog is flooded at a time to about 8″ at first
Then we beat the fields with machines to release the berries from the vines. Another 12″ of water is added so the berries float to the top and can be boomed.
Floating booms are used to guide the berries into the corner of the field where water pressure is used to suck the berries up into the cleaner. The berries are cleaned before being loaded into the back of a truck headed for Ocean Spray.
Once one bog is completely harvested, the water is transffered to the next bog and the process starts over again.
Something unique that we do, is recycle our water. Instead of adding it back into the river, it stays in our water resevoir and is used on the farm and in our fields throughout the year.
* A white cranberry is just an unripened berry *
* It takes about 4,500 cranberries to make one gallon of juice *
* Small packets of air inside the berry cause it to float *