During a dry harvest, the bogs are not flooded with water. Instead, the dry harvesting method utilizes
small, motorized walk-behind picking machines to 'comb' the berries from the dry vines. These
machines have a set of teeth which are propelled through the cranberry vines, stripping the berries
off. Once the teeth have separated the berries from the vines, an on-board conveyor belt moves the
berries away from the teeth and into a burlap bag for handling. Each full bag hold around 40 pounds
of cranberries and is placed on the bog for retrieval later. A new empty bag is placed on the machine
and the process continues. The picking machine operators follow one another, usually in a clockwise
rotation, starting from the outside of the bog section and working their way to the middle. At the end
of the day, all of the full bags of cranberries are taken off of the bog and are dumped into shipping
crates for delivery to a receiving station. Dry harvested berries are sold as fresh fruit in the produce
section of grocery stores.
Ninety percent of all cranberry growers wet harvest their bogs, while only ten percent dry harvest.
There are however many bogs in the Kingston area which continue to dry harvest to fill the need for
Cranberries grow and develop one crop each year. The vines produce flowering buds in the spring
which will develop into a berry over the summer. The annual cranberry harvest occurs each fall after
the berries have turned dark red. Harvest season lasts from September to early November and is
accomplished by using one of two harvesting methods - wet or dry picking. For many years, Bog
Hollow Farm was one of the few bogs which used the traditional dry picking method. Starting in
2013, Bog Hollow Farm started to wet harvest their bogs.
In the early 1900's when commercial cranberry farming was in its infancy, all cranberry bogs were
dry harvested. Back then, this was accomplished by workers hand-picking each individual berry off
the vine. As this method was very labor-intensive and slow, hand picking gave way to the use of
wooden scoops in the 1920's. The scoops were equipped with a set of long, narrow maple teeth that
would efficiently comb the berries from the vines.
Motorized dry harvesting machines began
to replace the wooden scoops in the
1950's. By the 1960's, growers were
experimenting with flooding their bogs in the
fall and harvesting 'wet'. This method sped
up the harvest considerably as picking was
no longer dependent on good weather and
a large labor force as dry picking was.
Because of the ability to pick many acres
quickly and cost effectively, most growers
today choose to wet harvest.
|Workers dry harvest the
cranberry bogs using
wooden hand scoops.
|A worker uses a dry harvest picking machine.
Wet harvesting requires that the bogs be flooded with water to a depth of about 1 foot over the
vines. Small colored flags are used to mark underwater obstructions and serve to help guide the
machine operators during harvest. A machine with a rotating reel is used to agitate the water which
causes the berries to snap off the vines. These freed berries float to the surface of the water and
are then corralled together with floating booms. The berries are removed from the bog by either a
conveyor belt or a pump which deposits them into a machine known as a detrasher. The detrasher
removes any leaves or twigs that may be mixed in with the berries. The cleaned berries are then
loaded into a waiting truck for delivery to a receiving station for further processing. Wet harvested
berries are used to make juices and cranberry sauce.
A worker uses a
to harvest the