On Sunday we went down to the Cranberry Harvest Festival in Wareham, MA–home to the biggest cranberry grower in the world, A. D. Makepeace, which is the primary “owner/grower” in Ocean Spray and, without knowing anything, appears to be the heavy in Southeast Mass more broadly, i.e. real estate development, major employer. To enjoy the cranberry harvest season, when across SE Mass and Cape Cod they flood the cranberry bogs resulting in beautiful red pools of berries, you can just pull over to the side of the road in many places. But the festival allows people to take a school bus out to the bogs themselves and watch the harvest operations. For the majority of cranberries, destined for cans of relish, juice and other processed ends, they flood the fields to about a foot deep, then have machines whack the bushes to get the berries to release and float up to the top of the bog. Then guys put on hip waders and corral the berries with floating booms and move them over so a vacuum machine can slurp them up, wash them off and drop them into a waiting hopper truck. For the berries that will be sold whole, they harvest them dry and there is more of a stoop labor process of using the scoops with tines you can see Amy and the girls wielding in the photos, now replaced more or less (?) by a lawnmower type machine.
Besides having a great time on a hot October day seeing these beautiful berries–red pools on the blue bog waters, against pine trees–and learning about the process, while I was waiting on the line for the bus back from the bog tour I also happened to read a story in the Washington Post about a vindictive new anti-illegal alien law now taking effect in Alabama. The guys working the harvest at A. D. Makepeace were largely Latino and as I read it I wondered how many of them had papers or not, and how this harvest compared to others that are worked by aliens legal and not across the country.
Today we went apple picking at Carver Hill Orchard in Stow, MA, about 40 minutes west of us. In October the apple picking around here can be kind of a production, like going to a giant state fair or something, so it was wonderful to find a place that was low key. We met our friends Leo and Rachel and their boys, got some semi-dangerous ten-foot poles with metal baskets on the end for grabbing high up, and discovered that, yes. we do like them apples. From there we went over to our friends in Newton to help decorate the sukkah in their backyard as we look forward to half-decent outdoor eating weather for Sukkot, ye olde Jewish harvest festival. Let the Great Pumpkin be satisfied with this demonstration of fall fealty!
[Sorry for the not entirely satisfying gallery format for the photos below. Click on a photo to see it full size. You can then navigate through the whole set.]