Annual Chatsworth Cranberry Festival

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It's All About the Pine Barrens!

The Magnificent Cranberry!


Cranberry Harvest at Double Trouble State Park (2008 photo)The majority of the cranberry harvest in New Jersey takes place in October.The best places for viewing the harvest are Whitesbog Village in Brendan T. Byrne State Forest; please check the Calendar of Events for cranberry harvest events going on at this picturesque cranberry farm.

Pinelands Adventures offers tours at a dry-harvest cranberry farm, Saturdays and Sundays in October. (The link also has a short video of a dry-harvester.)

The farms along Route 563 are privately-owned working farms and trespassing is prohibited.

Cranberry Recipes

October Cranberry Harvest at
Double Trouble State Park.

PLEASE NOTE: The cranberry bogs at Double Trouble State Park had been maintained and harvested intermittently by farmers/leaseholders even after the purchase of Double Trouble by the state in 1964.  In 2010 however, the farmers decided to retire and completed their last harvest at Double Trouble that fall.

As there is no current lease for the cranberry bogs, there will be no harvest this year at Double Trouble State Park, but the restored cranberry sorting and packing house is open for guided tours.  Please contact the interpretive center at 732-341-4098 for tour times and details.

NJTV published this short, informative video about Double Trouble's cranberry farming.

Picking the bogs
cranberry harvest
cranberry harvest
cranberry harvest
cranberry harvest - the harvesters act like horizontal egg beaters; the motion removes the cranberries from the vines
The gathering process begins with the booms being drawn in by the staff
Cranberry Harvest at Double Trouble
Gathering the cranberries
Cranberry harvest in the Pine Barrens
Cranberry harvest in the Pine Barrens
See harvest photos from Lee Brothers Cranberry Farm in Burlington County.


The North American cranberry industry has a long and distinguished history. Native peoples used cranberries as food, in ceremonies and medicinally. They mixed cranberries with deer meat to make pemmican, a convenience food that could be kept for a long time. Medicine men used them as poultices to draw poison from arrow wounds, and women used the juice as a dye for cloth. In New Jersey, the Delaware Indians used them as peace symbols. They got their name, “crane berries,” from the early German and Dutch settlers who thought their blossoms resembled the neck and head of a crane.

Cranberries ready for harvest

Revolutionary War veteran Henry Hall planted the first commercial cranberry beds in Dennis Massachusetts in 1816. Today cranberries are farmed on approximately 40,000 acres (16,200 hectares) across the northern United States and Canada.

Cranberry cultivation in New Jersey is believed to have begun In 1840. The State Board of Agriculture report of 1874 states that in 1840 a man by the name of John Webb established a cranberry bog in Ocean County near Cassville, and it is reported that he received $50.00 per barrel for his cranberries. They were bought by ship merchants who sold them to whalers. Cranberries were kept on board ships in barrels of cold water for the sailors to eat. They contained Vitamin C and helped ward off scurvy, which plagued seafarers on long trips. When Cranberry grower Elizabeth Lee of New Egypt decided to boil some damaged berries instead of throwing them away, she liked the tasty jelly so much she started a business selling "Bog Sweet Cranberry Sauce." That was the beginning of the Ocean Spray company, which still operates in New Jersey today!

The Ocean Spray receiving
station in Chatsworth

New Jersey is currently the third largest cranberry producing area in the United states following Massachusetts and Wisconsin. Currently, New Jersey has approximately 3,600 acres while Massachusetts has 11,000 acres. Burlington, Atlantic, and Ocean counties are major cranberry growing areas in New Jersey. The native fruit is also grown in Camden, Cape May, Cumberland, Gloucester, Middlesex, and Monmouth counties.

The state's leading cranberry grower is William S. Haines of Chatsworth, who has over 700 acres planted in cranberries. Haines' family has a history of cranberry growing. His grandfather, Cap Haines, a Civil War veteran, built cranberry bogs in an area known as The Birches "about 1895," according to Bill.


The North American cranberry, Vaccinium macrocarpon, Aiton, is a member of the family Ericaceae that is composed of about 1350 species including Scotch Heather (Calluna vulgaris), Rhododendrons (Rhododendron spp.) and Blueberries (Vaccinium augustifolium, V. corymbosum). Cranberries are a low-growing, vining, woody perennial plant with small, alternate, ovate leaves. The plant produces stolons (horizontal stems) up to 6 feet (2 m) long. Short vertical branches, or uprights, 2 to 8 inches (5 to 20 cm) in height, grow from buds on the stolons and these can be either vegetative or fruiting. Each fruiting upright may contain as many as seven flowers. Pollination is primarily via domestic honey bees.


Cranberry Harvest


The majority of cranberries are harvested between September and October, and occurs in one of two ways. By far the most common is wet or water harvest. The beds are flooded and the fruit is "beaten" off the vine using a specialized harvester. The floating fruit is then corralled and loaded onto trucks for delivery to a receiving station. Wet-harvested fruit is used for processed cranberry products like juice and sauce. Dry harvested fruit is "combed" from the vines using a mechanized picking machine. No water is involved during this process. The fruit is loaded into bins and shipped to receiving stations where it is cleaned and packaged as fresh fruit.

Cranberry Fun Facts!

There are approximately 450 cranberries in a pound, 4,500 cranberries in one gallon of juice, and 45,000 cranberries in a 100-pound barrel.

Contrary to popular belief, cranberries do not grow in water. They are grown on peat or sandy marshes, or bogs. Because cranberries float, the bogs are flooded when the fruit is ready for harvesting. The mechanized harvesters are then driven around the bogs, loosening the berries so they float to the surface where they are then collected.

Of all fruits, only three - the blueberry, the Concord grape and the cranberry, can trace their roots to North American soil. And of those, none is as versatile as the cranberry!

Cranberry Health

Scientific research is revealing how healthful cranberries can be. Packed with nutrients like antioxidants and other natural compounds, cranberries are a great choice for the health conscious consumer. Cranberries are available in a wide variety of forms including fresh fruit, juice, sauce, and dried. Juices and sauce are available year-round at your grocery retailer. Fresh fruit is generally available from September to December. Include more cranberries in your diet today and start eating healthier today.

Cardiovascular -Health Preliminary research shows that cranberries have the ability to decrease total cholesterol and LDL, or bad cholesterol, and increase blood flow.

Anti-Cancer -Cranberries are rich in flavonoids. These phytonutrients have been shown to inhibit certain types of cancer.

Ulcers - New research suggests compounds found in Cranberries may inhibit ulcer-causing bacteria from sticking to the stomach wall.

Anti-Aging -Polyphenolic compounds found in Cranberry may help to protect against neurodegenerative diseases, and the memory and coordination losses often associated with aging.

Urinary Tract Infection - The Proanothcyanidins found in Cranberries can prevent urinary tract infections by inhibiting E. coli bacteria from attaching to the urinary tract wall. The National Kidney Foundation recommends drinking at least one large glass of cranberry juice a day to help maintain urinary tract health.


Cranberry Recipes

PineyPower's Cranberry Sauce

1 package fresh cranberries
1 cup water, or 3/4 cup water, 1/4 cup red wine (optional)
1 cup sugar
finely minced zest from 1/2 orange
1/8t. salt - it brings out the flavor!
1/4 c. chopped pecans or walnuts, preferably lightly roasted (also optional)

Place sugar, salt and liquid in saucepan, bring to slow boil until sugar is dissolved. Place berries and zest in pan. Cook over slow heat for about ten minutes, until cranberries pop. Remove from heat; stir in nuts and let cool.

Leftover sauce makes a delicious dip:

One package cream cheese
1/2 cup sour cream
Cranberry sauce to desired taste
1/4t. hot pepper (or more to taste)

Serve with crackers - very festive, and great with wine!

I've used this recipe with a can of Mandarin oranges. I used the juice with water to equal one cup and cut the sugar just a bit. After the cranberries pop, I added chopped orange pieces, and let it cool.


Cranberry Cole Slaw

1 cup cranberries coarsely chopped
3 cups cabbage -- finely shredded
2 tablespoons celery, diced
2 tablespoons green pepper, diced
1 can seedless grapes, halved
1/4 cup cranberry juice
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon vinegar

Combine cranberries, cabbage, celery, green pepper, and grapes. Mix juice, mayonnaise, honey and vinegar together, then mix with fruits and veggies. Chill until served.

Cranberry Cole Slaw II

Shredded Cabbage
Dried cranberries
Mayonaise to taste
Salt and sugar to taste

Combine cabbage and dried cranberries; add mayonaise to desired creaminess. Refrigerate for several hours, then slowly add salt and sugar, mixing thoroughly and tasting after each addition. Best if refrigerated overnight, allowing cranberries to plump.


Quick Cran-carrot Salad

One package pre-shredded carrots
1/2 (or more, to taste) dried cranberries
1/2 cup chopped pecans or walnuts
Mayonaise to taste

Rinse and drain carrots; mix all ingredients together and refrigerate overnight.


Cranberry Mallow Pie

32 large marshmallows or 3 cups miniature marshmallows
16-ounce can whole berry Cranberry Sauce
1 cup chilled whipping cream 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 (6-ounce) pre-made vanilla wafer or graham cracker crust

Combine marshmallows and cranberry sauce in a medium saucepan. Cook on medium-low heat, stirring constantly, just until marshmallows are melted. Remove from heat; cool 10 minutes. Refrigerate, stirring occasionally, about 1 hour or until mixture mounds slightly when dropped from a spoon. Beat whipping cream and vanilla in a small mixing bowl until stiff peaks form. Stir cranberry mixture until blended; fold gently into whipped cream. Pour into crust. Chill until set, at least 5 hours. For a cool treat on a hot day, try freezing the Cranberry Mallow Pie until firm. To serve, garnish slices with additional sweetened whipped cream, if desired. Makes 6 servings.


Cranberry Party Meatballs

2 1-pound bags frozen cocktail-size meatballs (about 64 meatballs) or make your own
1 16-ounce can Jellied Cranberry Sauce
1 12-ounce bottle chili sauce
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon cayenne

Combine cranberry sauce, chili sauce, cumin and cayenne in a large saucepan. Cook over medium heat, whisking occasionally, until the cranberry sauce is melted and smooth. Add meatballs; stir gently to coat. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, 12 to 15 minutes or until meatballs are heated through. Place in chafing dish or slow cooker to keep warm.


Cranberry Spread

1 package cream cheese
2 tbs. frozen orange juice concentrate, thawed
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tbsp. sugar or Stevia equilavent
zest of 1 orange
1/4 c. finely chopped walnuts or pecans
1/4 c. finely chopped dry cranberries

Combine first 4 ingredients with an electric mixer until smooth. Fold in zest, nuts and cranberries. Refrigerate to blend flavors. Serve with bagels, crackers or fruit.


Cranberry Spinach Salad

Baby spinach
Dried cranberries
Chopped pecans, walnuts, or almonds
Mandrian orange sections
Plain goat cheese
Honey-Lime dressing (combine honey, fresh lime juice, mayonaise and salt/pepper to taste)

Mix the spinach with cranberries, orange sections, and nuts to taste, top with crumbled goat cheese and top with honey lime dressing- scrumptious!


Cranberry-Chicken Salad

Leftover chicken (or turkey), preferably white meat
Craisins (Dried cranberries by Ocean Spray)
Hot sauce to taste (Siracha works well)

Chop chicken into small pieces; chop craisins and pecans; dice celery. mix all ingredients together and serve with crackers of your choice, or as a sandwich spread! It's an easy and tasty treat!




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