Something to be Thankful for: Growing Cranberries Sustainably

A swamp located near the bogs at Mayflower Cranberries. Courtesy of Brian Milne.

By Brian Milne

It’s Saturday morning in Plympton, Mass., and the sun has yet to dry the dew from the windows at the Mayflower Cranberries farm, but owner Jeff LaFleur is already on a knee in his bog inspecting his crimson bounty in preparation for the fall harvest.

“It’s a pretty big berry, as you can see it here set on the vine,” LaFleur says, breaking off a couple berries that rival the size of California-grown grapes. “Try one. They’re a little bitter, but these are sweeter than a lot of the other varieties.”

Sweet indeed.

The fall harvest season at Mayflower Cranberries, home to the first commercial cranberry bog in Plympton, is a scene that truly captures the essence of the Thanksgiving holiday.

Cranberries have been cultivated in the bogs of Southeastern Massachusetts since 1816, according to Cohasset, Mass., author Susan Playfair’s new book, America’s Founding Fruit: the Cranberry in a New Environment.

At Mayflower Cranberries, LaFleur has vines in his Brown Swamp Bog that date to the late 1800s and are still producing fruit today.

“We grow four different varieties of cranberries,” said LaFleur, who manages 23.5 acres of active cranberry bogs. “Stevens, which is a hybrid variety used mainly for Craisins. —> Read More Here


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