Students Voyage to Berry Bog

Students had the chance to find out where Harvard University Hospitality and Dining Services gets its cranberry produce this past Saturday.

HUHDS’ Food Literacy Project organized a trip to the Ocean Spray cranberry bog, where all of HUHDS’ cranberry-related needs are met. Those include cranberry juice, cranberry sauce, and Ocean Spray’s dried cranberries or “Craisins.”

The Ocean Spray location is one of many such bogs across the country that Ocean Spray describes on its website as “an area of soft, marshy ground, usually near wetlands, where cranberries love to grow.”

This particular bog provides Harvard with 10,000 pounds of cranberries a year, said Pin-Wen Wang ’14, one of the three freshmen FLP representatives on the trip.

Visitors to the bog were struck by its beauty. “It was a sea of red and white and pink berries,” said FLP freshman representative Gary D. J. Gerbrandt ’14.

The event, which was publicized via e-mail lists and on the HUHDS website, proved immensely popular. Over 160 people signed up for only about 50 spots, according to FLP coordinator Dara B. Olmsted ’00.

The trip was the first of many FLP events designed to expose students to the inner workings of HUHDS.

The FLP, predominantly run by students, is intended to educate the Harvard community about food and agriculture.

Olmsted organized Saturday’s outing, but Wang said the event provided a chance to learn how to organize future events on their own.

For the rest of the students, the trip was a way to find out exactly where the sauce accompanying HUHDS’ Thanksgiving meals originates.

The students on the trip had an opportunity not only to see the bog, but also to eat cranberry-based snacks, including chocolate-covered cranberries and cranberry-based stuffing.

Participants also received a crash course in cranberry growing—a year-long process—and harvesting.

The bog tourists were informed that the cranberries sit on a bed of peat moss all year and will be covered in sand over the winter to protect the produce from the elements. During fall, harvesters flood the bog with water, Gerbrandt explained.

“I thought it was really exhilarating,” Gerbrandt said of the trip, “It was really cool to see a giant mass of floating berries, I mean, how often do you get to see that?”

—Staff writer Derrick Asiedu can be reached at dasiedu@fas.harvard.edu

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