Wednesday, October 22, 2014

The Wild Cranberry Harvest

October is cranberry season! And in the dunes of Cape Cod, you can find wild cranberries growing in abundance. They grow in the swampy, boggy valleys between high dunes. And they're one of 2 crops native to the salty, sandy soils of New England (blueberries are the other one).

A 19th century ship captain was the first person to grow cranberries for his own use. Why would he want to do that? Because the berries are high in vitamin C, which prevents a disease called scurvy—something a lot of sailors used to get because they didn't have access to fresh fruits when they were out on long sea voyages. The ship captain grew cranberries, and brought them aboard his ship in barrels.

Most people buy cranberries at the supermarket that are harvested from giant commercial cranberry farmers. But we picked them wild in Provincetown, MA two weekends ago. There were so many of them we could hardly carry our full baskets out!

You can read more about wild cranberries in my article in Odyssey magazine:

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