Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Cranberry Museum & Gift Shop in Long Beach

We started our day's excursion at the Cranberry Museum in Long Beach. The museum is part of the Pacific Coast Cranberry Research Foundation. The Foundation was formed in 1992 to purchase the Cranberry Research Station owned by the Washington State University when they decided to close the station. The local cranberry growers felt there was sufficient value to the research being done here to pool their resources and buy station and forty acres of farmland from the university. The University continues to support the personnel while the growers farm the bogs.

The museum is free and traces the history of cranberry growing in the Northwest which dates back more than 100 years. Cranberry farming was brought here from Cape Cod in Massachusetts after observing native berries growing in the marshes. Today there are about 235 growers from British Columbia to Oregon and demand is high thanks to creative and aggressive marketing by Ocean Spray Cranberries, Inc.

The Museum and Gift Shop Building

One of many informative panels in the museum that 
trace the history and key phases of the industry from bog preparation and planting to harvesting and marketing cranberry products.  

 A Furford dry harvest picker

A display of dry harvest cranberry pickers 

 This Suction Picker (introduced in the 1940s) works much like a vacuum cleaner sucking berries from the plants. Suction isn't used much any more since the 
Furford Picker is more efficient.

Cranberry Sorter 

Picker Boxes used to measure hand-picked berries.
The rakes at the top are used to hand prune vines.

The tool standing in the center is a "Scalping Hoe" used in bog preparation before  the days of bulldozers. The tool above the rakes and the boots is a 1940s version of a "weed eater" that was powered by an electric drill. 

Bog Boots designed to minimize damage to vines from walking on them. 

The pipe standing on the right was made in the late 1930s of straight-grained Douglas fir wrapped with wire and coated with tar. Hanging on the wall are various sprinkler heads used to irrigate the bogs.

Cranberry sorting equipment

An Ocean Spray Cranberry Color Meter

Sorter equipment in the Museum down the steps 
from the gift shop 

Rack for sorted cranberries 

A display of many cranberry products for sale in the gift shop 

Though most cranberries today are "wet harvested" (the bog is flooded and the berries floated from the vines), the museum displays focus on the older dry harvesting equipment.

Once we were finished looking around the museum and gift shop, we took the walking tour of the farm which lies just behind the museum.

Sign typical to the area indicating an Ocean Spray grower 

Cranberry bog with test plots

Colored flags mark what's being studied in each test plot. 

Close-up of vines in the bog 

The bogs have a deep drainage ditch around the perimeter that's supported with wood sides. 

A Raptor pole provides a perch for hawks and owls that
keep small rodents out of the bog. 

 These berries are nearly ready for the harvest.

Garden of Heather provides forage for bees before they pollinate the cranberry blossoms

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