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Wet harvest at Gilmore Cranberry Company, Agriculture, 2000; Gilmore Cranberry Company; Carver, Massachusetts; Photography by Maggie Holtzberg
Wet harvest at Gilmore Cranberry Company, Agriculture, 2000
Gilmore Cranberry Company
Carver, Massachusetts
Photography by Maggie Holtzberg
Unloading of cranberries at receiving station; Agriculture; 2000: Carver, Massachusetts
Ben Gilmore wading through corralled cranberries; Agriculture; 2000: Carver, Massachusetts
Ben Gilmore on to of loaded truck; Agriculture; 2000: Carver, Massachusetts
Cranberries unloading; Agriculture; 2000: Carver, Massachusetts
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Gilmore Cranberry Company
South Carver, MA
Southeastern Massachusetts is well suited to the cultivation of cranberries. Cold weather ripens the cranberries, to make nice dark fruit. Commercial buyers pay a bonus for dark colored fruit. But for cranberry farmers in southeastern Massachusetts, there is a fine balance between cold weather and frost. So the Cape Cod Growers Association issues a frost report.

Cranberries growing in low lying bogs have to be harvested before the first frost comes. We visited the Gilmore Cranberry Company bog in South Carver, just after it had been flooded and picked. The berries had been swept to one side of the bog by the wind and then corralled with booms. Next the berries were detrashed, washed and separated from the chaff and trash. The latter are used for mulch. The clean berries are then loaded into a truck and driven to the Oceanspray receiving station a few miles away.

Once on a lift, the truck tilts up to a 90 degree angle, forcing the berries against the back of the truck. A small opening allows the berries spill out, which sounds like a giant rain stick. Once dumped, the load passes by a blower to remove leaves, and is fed onto a conveyor belt for a final wash to remove the bad fruit and leaves.

The majority of cranberries are harvested this way and will be used for processed foods like cranberry juice and sauce. A dry harvest is used for the fresh fruit market and is much more labor intensive. That market is from November to December; the berries don't keep.
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