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Cranberry Harvest

For more than a month I was able to follow the cranberry harvest in Bourne, Falmouth and Wareham. For the most part I was following the harvest team of Handy Cranberry Trust.

There was the dry harvest in Cataumet and the wet harvest in Cataumet, Falmouth and North Falmouth.

The wet harvest is probably familiar. The bogs are flooded, the berries dislodged and a sea of red surfaces. The harvesters move deliberately and gracefully through the water. Are they walking ON water? No but they are walking IN water, and there is a total and special grace to their movements.

Part of that grace comes from the riot of red they move in. The red of the floating berries is so intense that one becomes addicted. More red, more red. But the work is going in the opposite direction. Slowly the red vanishes, sucked up the tubes and spilled into the truck. The blue pools remain, but they too will disappear when the bogs are drained.

How does one move through this watery terrain? The threshing machines plod, but they appear to float. The illusion would be rudely undone should they stumble on a drainage ditch, so a Moses marks the way with his staff, showing the way through the red sea with his staff, and guiding the submarine threshers to safety.

There is a less romantic but equally interesting dry harvest. But here there is no watery solution to the problem of to get the berries without crushing them. The only solution is to tread carefully and from the outside in.

There is one other cool move for getting the berries from lowland to highland, and that is to airlift them.

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