Friday, October 9, 2015

Cranberry Marsh Tour....(in the comfort of your own home)

How exactly do those little ruby reds get from the cranberry bed to the truck?

First the bed has to be flooded.  This bed is in the process of being flooded.  Like a four-chambered heart, cranberries have four tiny air chambers inside, which allows the fruit to float, but still attached to the vine.

A tractor with a harrow rake is driven through the bed in a rectangular spiral.  

This is a closeup of the front harrow bar.  The spring steel bars push the vines down, allowing the fruit to float upwards and is then plucked off the vine.  The berries float to the surface.

There's a back rake which picks up any straggler cranberries because every berry counts.

The process of booming a bed corrals the fruit and pulls it to one end for the harvest.
Here, Nick is actually doing the cleanup round.  The first booming corrals the vast majority of fruit, then the boomers make a 2nd corralling using blowers to get every berry that has wedged itself in the grass along the edge.  

Depending on the wind direction, this can be a berry wet job.

 Once the fruit has been boomed and pulled to the pickup end of the bed, the berries are elevated from the bed into the berry cleaner.

Here's the first elevator carrying fruit, twigs, leaves all up to the water sprayer.

The white PVC in this picture is the water sprayer bar.  The water is used to clean the majority of leaves from the cranberries.

Then the clean fruit is elevated into the dump truck, and eventually delivered to another cleaning station.

 There you have it, another day in the life of harvesting cranberries.