Joan Davenport – May 2018

If it’s May, it must be time for a visit from Dr. Joan Davenport! A former researcher for Ocean Spray, Joan works with Pine Island to provide guidance on fertilizer, water, and nutrients, as well as general integrated crop management. “At this point in the growing season, we are evaluating the plants for fruit potential and trying to develop recommendations for applications between bloom and fruit set. To do this, I look at hook, the length and color of the new upright growth, and the amount and color of old leaves, including looking for leaves from two growing seasons ago,” Joan says.

Our team had been a bit concerned about where we were in the growing season, due to all the rain we’ve been getting, but Joan’s visit has set their minds at ease. “We’re actually pretty much where we normally are right around now because while it’s been rainy, it’s been pretty warm too,” says Mike Haines. “We haven’t had a frost night since the beginning of May, and last spring our last frost night was mid-month, so it seems to have all evened out in the end. Joan always tries to time her visit right when bloom is about the start, since it’s the best time to make fertilizer decisions. Of course, we’re now at the point where if there’s a window we just fly even if conditions aren’t perfect!”

“We’re where we need to be right now, which is good,” says Matt Stiles. “This year we’re going to be experimenting a little more with the young stuff and adding more just to get the bogs filled in more quickly, so it was especially valuable to get Joan’s recommendations.”

“The general philosophy for management is to focus on root development in the first year, then shoots the following year, and then beginning fruit production in year three,” Joan says. “If the beds are not well established by year three, it is best to maintain practices to minimize fruit set. The reason for this is that fruit production requires many of the plant’s resources (nutrients, water, carbohydrates) and setting a significant crop prior to plant establishment will delay the ability to get to the desired situation where the roots/shoots/fruit are in equilibrium and can sustain long term production.”

It was also a great new experience for Mike Scullion, our new ICM team member! “It’s nice walking around with someone with [Joan’s] knowledge, because I have a lot to learn, obviously,” he says. “She outlines the present needs of the plants, but she also educates the staff, so it’s a win-win situation.” One of his biggest lessons: “She taught me how to look for nitrogen and phosphorus deficiencies with the color changes to the leaves. I’m looking forward to her next visit.”

Joan is due to come back mid-summer to check on progress and make any new recommendations necessary, and we’re looking forward to it as well!

Another year!

This week, Pine Island Cranberry celebrates the fourth anniversary of our website launch! It’s been another busy year, and our team has definitely been taking our core values to heart!

Whatever It Takes
We do what we have to do when it’s time to do it. We say what we have to say when it’s time to say it.

The best example from the past six months is probably how our team dealt with the extended power outage this past summer, as well as dealing with the massive January blizzard!

Continuous Improvement
We do everything we do better every day.

The best examples of this are the most recent: team member Matt Stiles’ creation of periodic lunchtime learning seassions, where team members get together to brainstorm on various topics, and our work with local members of the NJ Fire Service to learn more about control burning.

Protect the Environment
We care for the place we live, work, and grow.

This past year also saw the launch of our forestry website, which so far has mainly been used to chronicle the adventures of our translocated bobwhite quail. Look forward to updates soon with this ongoing collaboration with New Jersey Audubon!

Continuous Growth
We grow more acres and more fruit per acre.

Once again, our crop management team welcomed experts such as Dr. Joan Davenport to help us achieve our mission and our vision. Our team also shipped equipment to our affiliate operation in Chile, which in turn will help them increase their efficiency in reaching their targets. We also continued an ambitious bog renovation plan that now includes trying the new Haines variety from Rutgers.

We are Growers
We grow stuff. . .It’s what we do and who we are.

We also have not forgotten that first and foremost, we grow cranberries. Our team spent time with other growers at various meetings, as well as celebrating 125 years and five generations, still “growing” strong!

Provide Opportunity
We provide opportunities for people who have the drive to learn, develop skills, and achieve a better future.

Last but not least, this past year also saw us expanding our internship program as well as welcoming some fantastic new team members on board.

It’s been a great year for us at Pine Island Cranberry, and we hope you continue to enjoy following our operation as much as we do living it!