Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Homeschool Group Fieldtrip: Cranberry Bogs

Welcome to our homeschool group's fieldtrip. We did this about two weeks ago, but I'm a slacker and I'm late getting the pictures up.

Here we have a long shot from where we were parked. We walked the road over to where they were harvesting the cranberries. The open water is bogs that have been harvested already. The fields themselves look green/brown like the ones off in a distance in the picture. When the cranberries are ready to be harvested they flood the bog and a machine is run through the plants to pick the berries off the vine. Any that are not good will sink. Only the good cranberries float to the top for harvesting.

There is a very strong suction hose in the water with the cranberries. The men working continually push the cranberries towards the suction hose. They are then pushed up a conveyer belt through a machine that seperates the bog water and the cranberries. The cranberries are then loaded into a truck that will carry them back to the plant. This truck was almost done and another one was ready to take its place. At the time that we were there, they were harvesting about 9-10 trucks this size out of each bog.

Here we have Teo and his little possy: Trent, Anthony and Bryce. They are 3 of the youngest boys out of 8. Their family also has 1 daughter, she's the oldest. Notice the bogs waiting to be harvested in the back ground??

Here we have Stef with her friend Amy (she's the fourth oldest of 8 kids).

Here is another shot of the same bog being harvested from the last pictures. The men are dragging and pushing the cranberries towards the suction hose that you see to the left. The line going through the cranberries is the floatation part of the 'boom'. Which is what they place in the water to gather all the cranberries to the harvesting end of the bog. The water was about 40 degrees that morning, according to the guys.

The trucks then drive the cranberries to this holding tank and dump them in. Literally. They were very cautious about kids standing up on the edge, because if they fell in, they would drown. This holding tank is 12 feet deep and the cranberries are all floating on the top. The pressure and weight of the cranberries would hold someone under. But, OMGosh...that's like 6 feet deep in cranberries!

Then they travel from the holding tank to this conveyer system (which is REALLY LOUD) and pressure washed and seperated. Then they are conveyed once again into the back end of a semi-truck and away they go. They are driven that day to a factory several hours away. And these guys make about 2 runs a day like that. Crazy.

The particular cranberries that are harvested at this farm all go to the Ocean Spray company. These are all going to be made into craisins. :)

Cool huh?

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