On the Friday before my birthday, Rich, my mom, and I wen to the NJ Pine Barrens for a cranberry harvest tour. We did this one in a privately-owned, working farm along Route 563 in the Chatsworth, Burlington County, NJ area. First we heard an excellent talk by Brenda Conner. She explained that cranberries were American’s first super-fruit, used in 1550 by Native Americans. Then we went onto a special bus and went out to the narrow sandy dams surrounding the cranberry bogs. Joe Darlington, her husband (and co-owner of the farm) was at the mic giving us more information. She and Joe are fifth generation cranberry farmers! I was surprised to learn that Ocean Spray is a co-op, owned by some 700 farmers, with Brenda and Joe being two of them.
The entire tour was excellent! The only downside was early in the morning it was a bit overcast. Additionally, for insurance purposes, no one was allowed off the bus, but could go onto the bottom step for taking pictures. We capped the tour off by returning and tasting a lot of excellent Pine Barrens Native Fruits, my favorites being the cranberry and walnut jam and the tru-blueberry jam.
This was taken later in the day, and you can see how much the sky brightened up.
We also returned to nearby Whitesbog Village in Brendon T. Byrne State Forest, home of Elizabeth White’s blurberries — the first place in the world where blueberries were cultivated — and did a walking tour. Rich and I have been to Whitesbog Village many, many times this year, and every time is a treat!
I just love the area, and I’m so glad that we finally was able to see an actual wet harvest! I’ll be posting more pictures, as Rich and I returned the following evening and the weather was even more lovely!