Crazy for Cranberries
October 3, 2012

Apples and pumpkins get lots of attention in the fall, but there’s one more crop that shouldn’t be ignored, especially in New England: the tiny cranberry!

Fun Facts about Cranberries

The Cape Cod Cranberry Growers' Association, established in 1888 to standardize how cranberries are farmed and sold, is one of the country’s oldest farmers’ organizations. According to the association:

---The cranberry, along with the blueberry and Concord grape, is one of North America’s three native fruits that are commercially grown.

---Cranberries were first used by Native Americans, who discovered the wild berry’s versatility as a food, fabric dye, and healing agent.

---The name “cranberry” derives from the Pilgrim name for the fruit, “craneberry,” so called because the small, pink blossoms that appear in the spring resemble the head and bill of a Sandhill crane.

----There are approximately 14,000 acres of cranberry bogs in Massachusetts.

---There are about 4,400 cranberries in one gallon of a typical cranberry juice product!

Let’s Go See Some Bogs!

9th Annual Cranberry Harvest Celebration in Wareham
The Cape Cod Cranberry Growers' Association and cranberry grower A.D. Makepeace Company will hold this event, rain or shine, on October 6 and 7 at Makepeace’s property. The company has almost 2,000 acres of cranberry bogs. Festival-goers can take a free bog tour when they arrive to learn about cranberry growing. Another fun way to see the bogs is by helicopter (for an additional fee). There is also a birds of prey exhibit, paddle boat rides on Tihonet Pond, pony and train rides, juried crafters and artisans, live music, face painting, pumpkin decorating, cooking demonstrations, and plenty of food vendors. General admission is $5; free for kids under age 7.

Mayflower Cranberries
Mayflower is a family cranberry farm in Plympton with almost 24 acres of active cranberry bogs. In October, the farm offers two experiences, a harvest viewing tour, and for those who want to get into the bogs, a “Be the Grower” program. The guided tour ($10 per person) provides you with a Cranberries 101 lesson and the opportunity to view harvest from the shore. Tours last about 1 hour. The hands-on, two-hour “Be the Grower” program involves putting on waders (provided) and joining the growers in the bog to help with the harvest. The cost is $50 per person. These fill up fast (several are already sold out), so this might be something to put on the calendar for next year.

Flax Farm Ponds
This 100-acre family farm in Carver has 34 acres of cranberry bogs that have been in production since the turn of the century. The farm has a 10-acre pond, 20-acre reservoir and 40 acres of woodland. Visitors can view the cranberry harvest in the fall (weather permitting), plus check out antique equipment, cranberry artifacts, and a gift shop with lots of cranberry items. Tours of the bogs are available in season daily between 1 and 4 p.m. Call ahead to make sure there’s space.

Do you have a favorite cranberry recipe your kids love? Tell us about it!

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