Visiting Cranberry Bogs in Massachusetts (2022)

You'd be hard-pressed to find a more photogenic crop than cranberries, which ripen and redden in the fall. In Massachusetts, the cranberry harvest coincides with fall foliage season, providing a double dose of visual splendor. According to the Cape Cod Cranberry Growers' Association, 400 of North America's 1,000 or so cranberry farms are concentrated in Massachusetts: Most are south of Boston in Plymouth County and on Cape Cod.

Any drive in this region during Massachusetts' cranberry harvest season, which typically begins the last week of September and runs through October and sometimes into November, is likely to offer views of cranberry bogs, where growers are hard at work tending and picking the state's top agricultural cash crop. There's a good chance, too, you'll find yourself driving behind dump trucks brimming with red berries.

The Pilgrims discovered cranberries growing wild in bogs near their settlement in Plymouth and christened them "crane berries" because their spring blossoms resemble the shape of the shore bird's head and beak. From their Native American neighbors, the Pilgrims learned to use cranberries not only for food and medicinal purposes but as a natural dye.​

Cranberries are one of only three fruits native to North America that are now cultivated commercially. Like blueberries and Concord grapes, demand for cranberries has escalated worldwide as knowledge of their nutritive properties has increased.

If you'd like to set out on a fall driving tour to visit cranberry bogs in Massachusetts, here are some of your best bets for viewing the harvest in progress and purchasing fresh cranberries and cranberry products.

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Mayflower Cranberries

Address

72 Brook St, Plympton, MA 02367-1712, USA

If you want to make sure you don't miss out on the harvesting action at this small cranberry farm, which has three berry-producing bogs, make reservations well in advance for one of Mayflower Cranberries' Harvest Viewing Tours,available on select dates in October and November. If you want to don hip waders and venture into the bog to assist with the harvest, you can opt to reserve Mayflower's two-hour"Be the Grower" Experience. It's pricey, but it may help you appreciate your day job! These experiences sell out far in advance of the harvest season. The new Adopt-A-Bog experience is also an option. You'll use a wooden scoop to dry harvest your own plot of cranberries and take home 30 pounds of fresh-picked fruit in a wooden crate.

Mayflower Cranberries also has a farm store and ships fresh-picked berries anywhere in the United States.

(Video) The future of cranberry farming in Massachusetts

02of 07

Flax Pond Farms

Address

58 Pond St, Carver, MA 02330, USA

Phone+1 508-866-2162

Flax Pond Farms is an ideal place to learn a bit about the history of cranberry growing in Massachusetts.Inside the shop at Flax Pond Farms,you'll discover an antique Bailey Cranberry Separator that dates to 1924. Kids havea blast watching cranberries that pass a "bounce" test for quality scoot down the shoot and onto the conveyor belt, where they can be manually sorted by color and size. You can observe the machine in operation in this video.

Outside on a bog tour, you might meet grower Jack Angley, who has cultivated cranberries on 35 acres since 1967. Wet harvesting was a new innovation in the late '60s, but without a reliable source of water, which is critical to the process, Angley, his wife Dot, and their team of family and hard-working neighbors have "stayed with dry harvesting."

While picking cranberries with a motorized dry harvester is labor-intensive, it has an advantage. Cranberries that are harvested by flooding bogs are only suitable for processing into concentrate for juice, dried cranberries and other consumer products with an extended shelf life. Only dry harvested cranberries can be sold as fresh, whole berries.

Cranberries are rich in antioxidants and nutrients, andthose who have tasted Flax Pond Farms' product come back year after year. Some folks who've visited thesebogs on bus trips even call to order fresh-picked cranberries for mail order delivery. While most of the farm's crop is marketed by Massachusetts-based Ocean Spray—the largest cranberry cooperative in the world—2,000 pounds can be sold annually from the family's lovely farm store, where samples of hot mulled cranberry tea are served.

03of 07

Rocky Maple Bogs

Visiting Cranberry Bogs in Massachusetts (2)

(Video) Cranberry Harvest Bog Tours are open for 2022 cc

Address

18 N Carver Rd, West Wareham, MA 02576, USA

Whenradiant red cranberries percolate to the surface of a flooded bog, it is quite a sight. When bogs are flooded using a sprinkler irrigation system, naturally buoyant cranberries wriggle themselves loose from their vines and pop to the surface. Wind propels the berries toward one corner of the bog, and a boom is used to corral the cranberries toward a pump truck or conveyor system on shore.

You don't have to be on a guided tour to observe wet cranberry harvesting if you happen upon it: Just be respectful of private property, stay out of the bogs and don't ever pick cranberries without permission. After all, these are working farms: not tourist attractions. Rocky Maple Bogs (18 North Carver Road, Wareham, MA) is worth a drive-by if you're hoping to stumble upon a scene like this during cranberry season.

The cranberry beaters, sometimes called "eggbeaters," you may get to see in action don't actually pluck cranberries. Their paddle wheels agitate the water, coaxing reluctant cranberries to release from the vine. Once a bog is flooded, cranberry harvesters must work against the clock to get their product out of the bog and off to the processing plant before berries spoil.

04of 07

Makepeace Farms

Visiting Cranberry Bogs in Massachusetts (3)

Address

146 Tihonet Rd, Wareham, MA 02571, USA

Get directions

(Video) Cranberry Farming on Cape Cod with Leo

Phone+1 508-295-5437

If you don't want to leave experiencing the cranberry harvest to chance,A.D. Makepeace Companyoffers guided bog tours on select dates during the season. View thescheduleonline, or call 508-322-4028 for details.

Whether or not you book a spot on this tour, makeMakepeace Farmsastop on your cranberry bog driving tour. This farm market isthebest place to shop for cranberry goodies and souvenirs, plus other locally produced gourmet delights and gifts including fresh cranberries, sweetened dried cranberries, cranberry granola, cranberry salad topping,cranberry salsa and Richard's Famous Garlic Salt.This all-natural seasoning is made in Carver, Massachusetts, at Cranberry Barn Kitchens.

Continue to 5 of 7 below.

05of 07

Cranberry Bog Tours

Learn about organic cranberry farming on a tour of Cape Cod's largest organic bog. Starting in April and available daily through the fall harvest season, these kid-friendly and accessible tours require advance reservations. Before you leave, purchase sweetened dried cranberries and organic cranberry sauce at the farm stand. Fresh cranberries by the pound are also available during the harvest season.

06of 07

Cape Cod Cranberry Bog Tours

You'll get an agricultural education on walking tours offered by this cranberry grower, which has cultivated75 acres of bogs on Cape Cod formore than a quarter-century. Make reservations in advance for daily outings from mid-June to mid-December to view bogs in bloom, cranberries on the vine and ultimately, the harvest. The minimum group size is four people.

07of 07

Annie's Crannies

Visit this Cape Cod cranberry grower on weekends during the harvest season for bog viewing and to shop for fresh fruit and farm-made products including Bogside Honey. Owner Annie Walker left herBroadway production wardrobe supervisorjob in 1994 to tend this bog, which was once owned by her grandfather.Dennis is the first town in America where cranberries—a native wild fruit—were successfully cultivated.

(Video) Massachusetts Cranberries

FAQs

Where are the most cranberry bogs in Massachusetts? ›

The Buzzards Bay region is home to lots of cranberry bogs – 8,000 acres of them, to be exact. One-fifth of the nation's commercial cranberry crop is grown in the Buzzards Bay region.

When should I visit a cranberry bog? ›

As the cranberry harvest season ends in November, the cranberry vines begin going dormant for the winter. The best time to take a Cape Cod Cranberry Bog Tour is during the harvest season which is from mid-September to mid-December.

Can you visit the Ocean Spray cranberry bog? ›

Visitors will enjoy witnessing the Ocean Spray Cranberry Bog as it comes to life. Visitors will learn about the life cycle of a cranberry and educational facts about the bog when they visit the 16-acre site.

Does Massachusetts have cranberry bogs? ›

Approximately 13,250 acres of cranberry farms exist in Massachusetts today. Falling prices and other factors are leading some farmers to consider other alternatives for their land, as well documented by the Massachusetts Legislature's Cranberry Bog Revitalization Taskforce.

Where do cranberries grow in Massachusetts? ›

Many Massachusetts cranberry bogs, particularly those in Plymouth County, are built on bogs that had been mined for iron ore, while most of those on Cape Cod were developed in natural peat bogs. Cranberry bog soil is unique in that it consists of alternating layers of sand and organic matter.

Where is the Ocean Spray cranberry bog? ›

Ocean Spray owner-growers Jeff and Kim LaFleur open their 23.6-acre bog in Plympton, MA, to visitors from around the world for hands-on cranberry harvest programs.

Are there snakes in cranberry bogs? ›

The abandoned cranberry bog behind our house in Waquoit is classic habitat for snakes and has quite a healthy population of the northern water snake, as well as garter, green, and black racers. Others species are most likely living there. Many people fear snakes.

Does Ocean Spray give tours? ›

Unfortunately Ocean Spray® does not offer tours to the general public.

What states have cranberry bogs? ›

Most cranberries come from Wisconsin and Massachusetts

Just five states grow almost all of the country's supply of the tart berries: Wisconsin produces more than half of all cranberries in the United States, Massachusetts harvests another third, and New Jersey, Oregon, and Washington produce much of the rest.

Can you walk on a cranberry bog? ›

Most cranberry bogs are privately owned, and are best viewed as you drive down local roads. But there are a few public spots where you can get a close-up view of a cranberry bog. We've highlighted 13 local trails where you can take a walk by a cranberry bog. Check out one of these spots this fall and enjoy the view!

Why do they soak cranberries in water? ›

Growers use water to protect cranberries from frost and hot weather in summer. As a general rule, each acre of cranberries will use seven to ten feet of water to meet all production, harvesting and flooding needs.

Where are wild cranberries in NH? ›

Cranberry Meadow Pond

Wild cranberries still grow in New Hampshire bogs, but you have to know how to look for them. You might try the 4.5-mile Cranberry Meadow Pond Trail, which runs from downtown Peterborough to the summit of Pack Monadnock.

Do cranberries grow in Cape Cod? ›

It's cranberry harvest time on Cape Cod! Every fall, the many cranberry bogs around the Cape harvest their berries. Cultivation of the cranberry began in 1816 right here on Cape Cod in the town of Dennis and now cranberries are a major commercial crop in Massachusetts.

Why are cranberries important to Massachusetts? ›

Cranberries are the state's second-largest agricultural commodity, worth about $60 million, and the industry generates more than $1 billion for Massachusetts and about 7,000 jobs. The growers still manage to produce about a quarter of the nation's cranberries.

Are cranberries out yet? ›

Fresh U.S. cranberries are only harvested in the fall and are available at your local grocery store from September through January.

What months are cranberries in season? ›

The American Cranberry, a small, nutritious fruit that is native to the Northeastern United States and Canada, is available from October through December.

Why do cranberries grow in Cape Cod? ›

Cranberry farming has flourished on Cape Cod for 200 years, due in large part to the peninsula's acidic peat soils, coarse sand, constant water supply, and moderately long and frost-free growing season, writes Christy Lowrance in Cranberry Harvest: A History of Cranberry Growing in Massachusetts.

Where are cranberries grown in New England? ›

Nestled among the towns and villages of Southeastern Massachusetts are more than 14,000 acres of cranberry bogs. These bogs are the workplaces of the nearly 400 cranberry growing families of the Commonwealth.

Where is the cranberry capital of the world? ›

Bandon, The Cranberry Capital of the World. It may surprise some to learn that Bandon, with its temperateclimate and crashing surf, is an ideal place for growing cranberries, and it has grown to a center of production since the berries were first commercially grown here in the 1890s.

Are cranberry bogs salt water? ›

As with the reclamation of tidal marshes, cranberry bogs required the control and use of local water supplies. However, cranberry bogs utilized fresh water instead of salt or brackish water. Today, cranberry growers still follow many of the same principles used by nineteenth and early twentieth century growers.

Which US state is the leading producer of cranberries? ›

Wisconsin is the nation's leading producer of cranberries, harvesting more than 60 percent of the country's crop. The little red berry, Wisconsin's official state fruit, is the state's number one fruit crop, both in size and economic value.

Where are cranberries grown in New England? ›

Nestled among the towns and villages of Southeastern Massachusetts are more than 14,000 acres of cranberry bogs. These bogs are the workplaces of the nearly 400 cranberry growing families of the Commonwealth.

What state is known for cranberry bogs? ›

Most cranberries come from Wisconsin and Massachusetts

Just five states grow almost all of the country's supply of the tart berries: Wisconsin produces more than half of all cranberries in the United States, Massachusetts harvests another third, and New Jersey, Oregon, and Washington produce much of the rest.

Are there bogs in New England? ›

Hawley Bog is a regionally important example of an intact New England bog.

Are there cranberry bogs in NH? ›

Wild cranberries still grow in New Hampshire bogs, but you have to know how to look for them. You might try the 4.5-mile Cranberry Meadow Pond Trail, which runs from downtown Peterborough to the summit of Pack Monadnock.

What months are cranberries in season? ›

The American Cranberry, a small, nutritious fruit that is native to the Northeastern United States and Canada, is available from October through December.

Why do cranberries grow in Cape Cod? ›

Cranberry farming has flourished on Cape Cod for 200 years, due in large part to the peninsula's acidic peat soils, coarse sand, constant water supply, and moderately long and frost-free growing season, writes Christy Lowrance in Cranberry Harvest: A History of Cranberry Growing in Massachusetts.

Are cranberries native to Massachusetts? ›

Yes, in fact the cranberry, along with the blueberry and Concord grape, is one of North America's three native fruits that are commercially grown.

Where is the cranberry capital of the world? ›

Bandon, The Cranberry Capital of the World. It may surprise some to learn that Bandon, with its temperateclimate and crashing surf, is an ideal place for growing cranberries, and it has grown to a center of production since the berries were first commercially grown here in the 1890s.

Where is the cranberry capital of the United States? ›

The cranberry is Wisconsin's official state fruit. And the state is America's number one Cranberry producer, supplying more than 60 percent of the annual harvest, producing a billion dollars in economic impact and generating more than 5,000 jobs.

Where are the most cranberries grown in the world? ›

United States of America is the largest cranberry producer in the world with 359,110 tonnes production per year. United States of America produces alone more than 50 % of world's cranberry. Canada comes second with 172,440 tonnes yearly production.

What is a bog in New England? ›

Level Bogs are dwarf-shrub peatlands, generally with pronounced hummocks and hollows in sphagnum moss; These wetland communities are very acidic and nutrient-poor because the peat isolates them from nutrients in groundwater and streams; Cranberry on a sphagnum mat. Photo: Steven Roble, NHESP.

Does Ocean Spray give tours? ›

Unfortunately Ocean Spray® does not offer tours to the general public.

Are there cranberry bogs in Vermont? ›

Cranberry Bob, is the man behind Vermont Cranberry Company, a small farm with four cranberry bogs located in the hills of VT, also known as the first commercial grower of cranberries in the state.

Do cranberries grow in Maine? ›

Cranberry production is a vital new industry in the State of Maine. It is a 'new' industry in the sense that it represents the rebirth of an industry that left the State in the first half of this century and until 1988 there were no commercial producers in the state.

What is a cranberry bog used for? ›

Cranberry growers in Massachusetts flood their bogs to protect cranberry vines from the frigid temperatures and drying winds of winter.

Where is Ocean Spray headquarters? ›

Headquartered about 45 minutes south of Boston in Lakeville-Middleboro, Massachusetts, our corporate office employs over 450 people in Marketing, Sales, Finance, IT, Operations, Ingredient Technology, Supply Chain, Agricultural Supply, Research & Development, Human Resources, Legal and Communications.

Videos

1. Massachusetts Invests Nearly $1M To Improve Local Cranberry Bogs
(CBS Boston)
2. Massachusetts: Stone Bridge Farm Cranberry Bog
(Lyle Such)
3. Autumn in New England | Colorful Fall Foliage | Crimson Carver Cranberry Bog
(BestLifeLee)
4. Bog Visit and cranberry picking
(Jack Brown)
5. How Ocean Spray Harvests 220 Billion Cranberries A Year
(Business Insider)
6. Transforming a cranberry bog back to its natural habitat
(Chronicle 5 WCVB)

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