This week at Pine Island Cranberry we’re about ready for winter’s end, pretty as it is.

While our team continues to work on sanding when the weather permits, we have started another project as well: making boxes. As Facilities supervisor Mike Guest explains: “As we grow, our needs grow. As more berries come in, we’re going to need more boxes.” We have two hundred now, and our team is building another fifty. While we try to keep them in constant rotation, it helps to have a sizable reserve in order to keep moving as efficiently as possible, especially at the Sim Place platform.

“A few years back, we built those first two hundred boxes and we built them bigger; they hold fifty percent more than the ones we used to use,” says GM Fred Torres. “But we’re always looking for ways to get better. Now, with the renovations we’ve been doing at Sim Place and at the Oswego section, we’re looking to improve even more.” We’re doing that by starting to widen more dams at Panama and on parts of the home farm (mainly toward the southern end) in order to bring more tractor trailers in for hauling.

“It’s all in the name of efficiency,” says Fred. “Two tractor trailers together can carry eighteen boxes; that’s nine dump truck loads. It saves wear and tear on the dump trucks, it frees up some of the guys whose skills we can use elsewhere, and it helps us haul berries a lot more quickly.” So the plan is to get at least two more tractor trailers, eliminating the need for so many small trucks, and try to strike a balance. In order to make the hauling easier for the trailer drivers, we will be widening dams and turns at Red Road and several of the bogs by the Jonathan Wright reservoir. “That way we can haul and load right from the corners of those bogs,” says Fred. “It’ll be a sight, all those big trucks coming out of the woods!”

But before that, the boxes need to be finished, and various members of our team are doing whatever it takes to help get them done!