A.D. Makepeace hosts first Cranberry Bog Tour of the season

By Zarrin Tasnim Ahmed | Sep 24, 2016
Photo by: Zarrin Tasnim Ahmed Glen Reid holds up a cranberry, explaining how it grows on vines and describing the weather conditions it could survive.

Charlotte and Ken Bell left work early on Friday afternoon to make their commute from southern New Hampshire to Tihonet Village. It took an hour and some change, but at least the Bells got to cross an item off their bucket list: visiting a cranberry bog.

"I'm excited," said Charlotte. "This has been a bucket list item of mine, but just to learn more about it and see is exciting."

A.D. Makepeace hosted the first cranberry bog tour of the season on Friday afternoon. Nearly 70 guests from various states gathered in Tihonet Village and were transported via bus to cranberry bogs.

Out on the bog, workers reeled in cranberries using a cranberry boom: a floating containment that corrals cranberries on water after harvesters have beaten the berries off the vines.

The berries are sucked up by a vacuum onto a truck that automatically separates cranberries from all other debris in the field, like leaves from the vines.

The 5-acre bog filled at least five trucks with cranberries.

Glen Reid, assistant manager of Cranberry Operations, led one of two buses and shared his knowledge with the visitors. Reid has been working at A.D. Makepeace for 33 years and began his career as an equipment operator.

Some facts that he shared:

  • It takes 4,400 cranberries to make a gallon of cranberry juice.
  • Makepeace rents honeybees from beekeepers in Florida. The bees work themselves to death. The few remaining bees lay nests underground, which could survive the winter.
  • Because of their waxy coats, cranberries are dry-picked after the morning dew.
  • All companies that sell to Oceanspray also own a part of it. Makepeace is the largest grower for Ocean Spray, but only owns 7 percent of it.
  • The largest bog Makepeace owns is 75 acres: it has three rivers running through it and the middle of it is 10 feet deeper than the rest of it.
  • Cranberries must be 95 percent clean when sold to Oceanspray, or else money is deducted.

The next tours are Wednesday, Oct. 19 at 1 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 22 at 9 a.m., and Saturday, Oct. 29 at 9 a.m. Tickets are $12 per person and advanced registration is required.

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