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Background photo by Don Sylor

LEO: For the record, this is Andrea’s version of the history of cranberries.

Cape & Islands Voices - Harwich ANDREA: I tell stories. I get that from my father. In 1860, there was a sea captain down here, Captain Hall. He had a fleet of fishing ships as well as wild bogs in his yard. There was a bad hurricane and his ships were destroyed, so he decided to do something about the berries in his yard. They said he started the first cultivated bogs around, and there’s always been a little controversy as to whether he lived in Harwich or Dennis. I was told Harwich. And on my tour, it is Harwich. (laughs) But I do believe it was in Dennis.

LEO: There’s no dispute that the commercial cranberry business started right in this part of Cape Cod. They were marketed through Mr. Hall as a replacement for limes in the shipping industry. Limes became so hard to get and so expensive back then, and a lot of sailors used limes to prevent scurvy. When it was discovered that cranberries had the same antibodies as limes and that they could prevent scurvy, it became a marketable commodity. He would package the cranberries up in wooden barrels and take them down to the Bahamas and sell them, trade them, and come back with spices or mackerel or other things that would be marketable here in Harwich. Back in the mid to late 1800s, shipping was big commerce here.

ANDREA: With my daughter, any friend that she has—they never want to go to their house. They always want to come to our house, which I’m happy about. I want it that way. They get to four-wheel and drive and ride horses. I just think it’s sad that they have TV shows that say shut the TV off and go out and exercise. Kids have to be told that?

LEO: Andrea and I probably have this discussion more often than she wants to have it, but there are times when I would like to put our 64 acres on the market and move out of here. But then I say, “Well, where am I going to go? There’s no place better.”

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Jeff is the Managing Editor for Cape Cod Life Publications.

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