|The Cranberry Business Begins
New Jersey, the first cranberry cultivation began in 1840.
John Webb established the first cranberry bog and sold his
barrels for $50 each, which was a lot of money then. He sold
them to ship merchants who sold them to sailors because cranberries
would keep them from getting sick while at sea.
Lee was one of the only cranberry growers in southern New Jersey.
She usually threw out any damaged berries she harvested. One
day she decided to cook the berries, and she created a tasty
sauce. Elizabeth started selling it as “Bog Sweet Cranberry
Sauce.” In the beginning people didn’t want to
buy it, but she continued making the sauce. Elizabeth merged
her company with another one and formed Ocean Spray, which
is still around today.
how do cranberries get from the plant to the supermarket? They’re
harvested from mid-September to Thanksgiving by one of two
methods: dry or wet harvesting. To dry harvest, growers use
a machine that looks like a lawnmower to pick the berries off
the vines and put them into a bin for storage. A New Jersey
cranberry grower invented this machine. Dry harvesting produces
fresh, whole cranberries.
use wet harvesting for cranberries used in juices, sauces,
and relishes. When the cranberries are ripe, growers flood
the field with 18 inches of water. Then they use a large water
reel, which looks like an eggbeater, to turn up all the cranberries
so they float to the top. After taking the cranberries out,
leaves and debris are removed. Then the cranberries go through
a dryer (also invented in New Jersey) that blows first hot
and then cold air on them.
use a simple test to see if a cranberry is ripe or not. They
drop the berries and let them bounce over a wooden barrier.
Air pockets in the cranberries make them bounce, so if the
berry is damaged it won’t bounce over the barrier. The
bad berries drop down into throwaway bins, and the good ones
move on to be packaged.