It’s Cranberry Season on Cape Cod

Cranberries from Thacher Farm

Cranberries from Thacher Farm

As innkeepers on Cape Cod we are always striving to be more “Farm to Table” for our breakfasts and teas served at our two Cape Cod Bed and Breakfasts, Brewster by the Sea and the Captain Freeman Inn. We have a wonderful garden-both vegetable and herbs and guests love the raspberries that we grow for our raspberry jam.

This year I decided to call a few local cranberry bogs to see if I could purchase cranberries directly from the farm.  I  was lucky to find the Thacher Farm which is owned and operated by Raymond and Beverly Thacher. Beverly was so gracious on the phone and invited us for a tour of their “sanctuary” and also to pick up our wonderful cranberries. The picture above shows Byron holding a crate of berries along with Beverly and their smiling grandson, Keegan. We were only there for a short visit but while driving home my husband and I both agreed it was the highlight of our week.

Harrison by the bog

Harrison by the bog

Harrison had a ball running around and even got to go for a swim in Salt pond which helps support their bogs.

Our Local Paper, The Wicked Local recently interviewed  Raymond Thacher and was quoted saying the following about this year’s harvest :

CAPE COD —

“Late September and early October are the season for the annual cranberry harvest on Cape Cod. Bogs are flooded and photographers flock to take photos of the maroon fruit floating in the water. As picturesque as the flooding is, it is only half the story of the cranberry season. Cranberry grower Raymond Thatcher says his company dry harvests certain bogs first. Workers push machines that look like giant lawn mowers through the bogs. The machines have burlap sacks attached to them to collect the berries.

The berries are then put through a separator machine and the fruit is sold either loose or in packages in local markets and grocery stores. They can be used fresh to make any number of baked goods, savory fall recipes or fresh cranberry sauce.

Once the dry cranberries are picked, Raymond and his crew turn to the wet harvest.

“We’ll flood the bogs first and then we have a big reel that goes out and snaps the berries off the vine,” he explains. “Then we put them in a big corral, bring them to the pump and pump them on the truck.”

The cranberries that are wet-harvested are used to make juice and other canned products for Ocean Spray. Raymond is one of around 25 Ocean Spray cranberry farmers on Cape Cod. The company, which began in 1930, runs as a farmer’s cooperative that includes more than 700 families today. Many of the families, like Raymond’s, include multiple generations.

On the day last week that I spoke to Raymond, his crew had harvested around 10 tons of cranberries. He works on about 70 acres of land in both Brewster and Harwich, with bogs on Great Western Road, Long Pond and Hinkley’s Pond. He says that his yield is typically about five tons to an acre.

Raymond’s favorite way to eat cranberries is raw. “I eat them all the time while we’re picking,” he says.

Late September and early October are the season for the annual cranberry harvest on Cape Cod. Bogs are flooded and photographers flock to take photos of the maroon fruit floating in the water. As picturesque as the flooding is, it is only half the story of the cranberry season. Cranberry grower Raymond Thatcher says his company dry harvests certain bogs first. Workers push machines that look like giant lawn mowers through the bogs. The machines have burlap sacks attached to them to collect the berries.

The berries are then put through a separator machine and the fruit is sold either loose or in packages in local markets and grocery stores. They can be used fresh to make any number of baked goods, savory fall recipes or fresh cranberry sauce.

Once the dry cranberries are picked, Raymond and his crew turn to the wet harvest.

“We’ll flood the bogs first and then we have a big reel that goes out and snaps the berries off the vine,” he explains. “Then we put them in a big corral, bring them to the pump and pump them on the truck.”

The cranberries that are wet-harvested are used to make juice and other canned products for Ocean Spray. Raymond is one of around 25 Ocean Spray cranberry farmers on Cape Cod. The company, which began in 1930, runs as a farmer’s cooperative that includes more than 700 families today. Many of the families, like Raymond’s, include multiple generations.

On the day last week that I spoke to Raymond, his crew had harvested around 10 tons of cranberries. He works on about 70 acres of land in both Brewster and Harwich, with bogs on Great Western Road, Long Pond and Hinkley’s Pond. He says that his yield is typically about five tons to an acre.

Raymond’s favorite way to eat cranberries is raw. “I eat them all the time while we’re picking,” he says.”

Raymond and Beverly Thacher with grandson Keegan

Raymond and Beverly Thacher with grandson Keegan

So now on to the big question……what am I going to do with all of these wonderful cranberries?????

Cranberries from Thacher Farms

Cranberries from Thacher Farms

The answer is simple…one can never have enough fresh cranberries, especially this time of the year. I plan on making cranberry sauce to bring to our daughter April’s home for Thanksgiving. I want to make cranberry chutney to serve with our breakfast paninni’s. I want to give some of the cranberries to guests, friends and family when we go back to the Berkshires next month. I want to top our pecan waffles with cranberries for tomorrow’s breakfast. I want to make cranberry biscotti for tomorrow’s tea…..and what’s left over will go in the freezer to use for the rest of the year.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *