About six years ago, we made some changes from the way we’d been gathering the crop for years by investing in a new berry pump, also known as a bogside cleaner. The bogside cleaner improved the process by taking out a stop at our packing house between the bog and the receiving station and removing debris as the berries come out of the water. This is better on fuel and easier on the team, as it requires fewer people in the water. As with any new equipment, there was a learning curve, but our team made modifications as they became necessary and took notes for subsequent harvests.
When we first started considering a berry pump, some of our team went out to Wisconsin and looked at three or four makes of cleaners as well as looking at one owned by our neighbors. We ended up going with Paul’s Machine & Tool because they’d already done quite a bit to accommodate the user interface to make it more intuitive, and they were also very willing to customize it however we wanted.
The real test was during harvest itself, of course, and as expected, the team found that the machine would need some modifications based on practical use. So when we ordered a second machine, we asked Paul’s to make some design changes. The new berry pump added extra row of cleaning grates to the cleaning box and changed spacing on the box. At same time we sent the old cleaning box back and they sent us the new 5 grate design in return.
We learn a little more every year about the best way to run the bog side cleaners, and now we’re up to four! This summer our equipment team built racks for the trailer to carry the things the crew will need for them. “A lot of what we’re doing is polish on the berry pump operations, really; the first couple of years we were learning how to use them, then we we were experimenting with various modifications to customize them for our own operation,” Louis Cantafio said at the time.
Each crew used to carry around all the stuff for the pumps, but racks are going to keep things more organized and more accessible. It’s going to be much more efficient when a crew can readily see that they have everything they need.