Harwich Cranberry Festival Weekend- September 15–16
Cranberries aren’t just nutrient-rich foods. The bright berries are a cause for celebration during the Harwich Cranberry Festival Weekend. On Saturday, kick off the festival weekend with music at the Cran Jam in Brooks Park. On Sunday, find a perch on Main Street and watch the Cranberry Harvest Festival Parade, beginning at noon. Go online to find a schedule of other cranberry-themed events to experience. harwichcranberryfestival.org, 508-430-2811
Learn about Cape Cod’s early Native American inhabitants during “Before the Pilgrims,” an installment of the Living History Weekends series held at the Atwood House Museum on September 15-16. This historical Chatham destination also hosts a variety of exhibits well worth the price of admission ($7–$10).chathamhistoricalsociety.org, 508-945-2493
Escape the crowds and find serenity at Cedar Spring Herb Farm, a seven-acre farm in Harwich. Wander along one of the walking trails, meander through an herb garden, or purchase organic fruits, vegetables, and herbs. cedarspringherbfarm.com, 508-430-4372
A Bog’s Life
While crimson cranberry bogs are a familiar sight during autumn travels, tending a bog is a year-round endeavor. Harwich cranberry farmer Andrea Cakounes gives a behind-the-scenes look at the life of a cranberry bog.
September–October: It is time to harvest the cranberries, which have now turned a deep red. The bog is first dry-harvested by using a picking machine that combs through the bog, collecting the cranberries. After the dry harvest is finished, the bog is flooded to collect any cranberries that were missed during the first harvest. Cranberries float to the surface due to the small pockets of air inside the fruit.
November–February: Equipment is put away and debris found in the ditches of the bog are cleaned out. The cranberry bog is flooded to protect the cranberries from the harsh New England winter. If ice has not formed along the top of the bog, a layer of sand is spread throughout.
March–April: Equipment is cleaned and prepped for the spring season. The bog is drained, leaving the plants exposed to fluctuating spring temperatures. Sprinklers are put in the bogs to get rid of any frost that forms on the plants. Bees, which help to pollinate the plants, are released on the bog.
May: Water and soil samples taken from the bog confirm that the cranberries will be safe to eat. Small, light-pink flowers bloom on the cranberry plants.
June–August: The cranberries begin to grow, forming small white berries. The bog is weeded and swept for bugs, and the process begins anew.