The harvest itself is reason to celebrate because cranberries are so indigenous, colorful and traditional; they are a constant source of pride. With the unique wet harvesting methods employed, water floods into the bogs creating quite a spectacle. As the harvest wheel knocks the cranberries off the vines they float to the surface where they’re herded into land for picking. It makes for a stunning portrait of the New England countryside.
Nothing illustrates this unique process better than the Cranberry Harvest Festival in Wareham on October 8 – 9. It’s a wonderful year to celebrate this Massachusetts tradition, especially since the cranberry yield here is forecasted at 2.10 million barrels – up 11 percent from 2010. If production live up to estimates, it would be tied for the second largest crop on record. Favorable weather conditions during June and the first half of July aided pollination and led to a robust yield this year.
Some 14,000 acres make up the wetlands of South Eastern Massachusetts, including the cranberry bogs harvested by nearly 400 cranberry growing families. Bogs also serve as a protectorate for wetland plant and animal species. Cranberries flavor our drinks and muffins daily, and are a Thanksgiving favorite. If you have a chance, try to visit one of these bogs during harvest to see where the flavor originates.