Getting ready for the 2021 harvest!

Harvest is less than a month away and our team is hustling to get everything ready! We’re getting everything sharpened up on the farm right now; the team is working on both the chores that we need to get done and those that we like to get done. It’s always nice to have the farm tidy and ready beforehand.

The ditches surrounding every bog must be kept free of debris in order to ensure adequate water flow for both flooding and drainage. Cleaning the ditches is important for two reasons. First, it helps maintain the proper moisture level in the soil. Second, and most importantly, removing water from the bogs quickly is urgent in case of a big rain event.

It is important to make sure all of the equipment has been properly maintained well in advance of the harvest: the boom, boom reels, harvesters, et cetera. The boom is taken out and checked for any repairs that need to be made, and so is the reel. The harvesters are brought in and serviced at our shop. We also look over and repair as needed the blowers, trucks, and tractors for each harvesting crew and ensure we have all the tools and safety supplies necessary to get us through harvest.

We’ve also been assisting the Ocean Spray receiving station so they can calibrate their equipment; they’re currently getting the lab ready so growers can bring samples in to test for color and firmness. Manager Bob Garatino has retired and longtime employee Alonza Williams is now in charge! Alonza has long been a good friend to local cranberry growers and we’re glad to continue working with him in his new role.

Two months out of the year, the receiving station is cleaning and sizing cranberries. The rest of the year, they make sure our bins are cleaned and prepared for the next season. “Communication with the growers and timing delivery truly is the key,” Alonza says. The receiving station has 12 people on staff during the slower months, but by the time they’re in full swing that number grows to twice as many, and that’s when communication truly becomes essential: “We’ll stay in touch with growers for their start and end times and even Sundays, by request.”

We’re looking forward to the season and to working with Alonza to making it a great one!