This week, Pine Island Cranberry was pleased to host a visit from Senator Cory Booker and his team! It seems the Senator was happy to visit, as well:
Almost at the cranberry bog! Very excited about this . . .
— Cory Booker (@CoryBooker) October 16, 2014
Our tour started with a brief introduction in our main office, and then it was off to see our red October!
The Senator and his team were able to speak with both CEO Bill Haines as well as Dan Crocker, Vice-President of Cooperative Development at Ocean Spray, and learned a tremendous amount about both Pine Island’s history and the cranberry industry in New Jersey. The highlight of the trip was the chance for him to get into waders and help our Orange Team gathering crew bring the crop in.
It was a fantastic chance for him to witness the importance of a clean, abundant water supply for cranberries and the many ways water is crucial to bringing in our crop every year: flooding the bogs for harvest purposes, pest management and fertilizer application, application of sand to bogs during the winter months, and use of irrigation to prevent frost damage, as well as how these production activities remain consistent with good conservation practices.
Other highlights included getting the Senator to taste a raw cranberry. Because cranberries have little natural sugar and need to be sweetened for palatability and processing purposes, getting a reaction from folks who have only tried “finished” products can be fun. The Senator rolled with the punches, however, and inspected them inside and out!
All in all, it was a highly successful day for everyone. “We were proud to have Senator Booker here to show him our operation, and are really pleased that he was so interested in our industry. He was a total good sport and it was really fun to have him,” says Bill. Senator Booker agrees: “It was a great visit. I’m honored to represent [Bill’s] interests and the interests of New Jersey’s farmers in Washington, DC.”