Every year for the past five years I have worked at the Ocean Spray Carver, Massachusetts Receiving Station processing the annual cranberry harvest. This is seasonal employment. No, we don’t wade into the bogs. The cranberries are brought to the Receiving Station.
The seasonal employment is roughly ten weeks long. The draw is that the base pay is well above minimum wage and that overtime makes the travel from New Bedford well worth the while.
It is interesting to learn about the history of America’s cranberry. There are so many new varieties developed for their characteristics for different cranberry applications. The family of products goes well beyond the familiar juice and sauce. This year cranberry clusters began showing up on store shelves.
When I started five years ago, I was impressed that the farmer/grower owned co-op provided jobs for locals. The family of growers has recently expanded operations to Chile. I just got done enjoying a bag of Clementine oranges from Ocean Spray Chile.
Every year some of the same faces return by invitation because they are good workers. New employees are hired as needed. A bonus is offered to those returning as well as a bonus for making it through the current season in good standing. The bonus is a good incentive to keep up motivation.
It is fun sharing cranberry recipes between co-workers. This year I acquired a recipe for Cranberry Cordial. I’ll let you know how it is when it is ready in thirty days. This year I made Cranberry Muffins for several co-workers. I make the big muffins like the bakery. I even decorated the tops with sugar coated whole cranberries. In the past I’ve made the crew Cranana Bread and Cranberry Apple Pie. Recipes are available on the official Ocean Spray website.
The cranberry harvest was unbelievable. We broke all records for barrels shipped. The machinery ran at full tilt from day one. No down time at all.
Think about us when you sit down to your Thanksgiving Day feast. A lot of cranberries go into making that sauce. I think we estimated that it takes about 500 per can based on weight. Anyway, we worked hard and long to bring those cranberry products to your table. Enjoy!