Back in the days when Hurricane Sandy was not yet even a puff of air – like all of three weeks ago – I was on the east coast visiting a good friend, Allan.
I actually have quite a few blog posts in mind from my experiences on the trip but this first one is about Cranberries.
The first week was spent out on Shelter Island and the North and South Fork of Long Island. We then did a five day jaunt up into New England.
One of the highlights of the trip was Walking Dunes State Park. An absolutely amazing place where the dune has overtaken a forest and covered it slowly enough that the tops of trees sticking out of dunes 30+ feet deep are still alive. It is a glorious place hosting at least five species of oaks, and many other wonders.
One of the wonders – at least to me – were the cranberries. I had never picked cranberries before; never even seen them growing , which is actually sort of silly considering that Washington is one of the top states in cranberry production.
I had always thought of cranberries as growing in a boggy, wet environment, at least damp enough that your knees would get wet if you knelt while picking.
There was not much that was bog-like here. There were dunes all around us. This was just a little dell in the sand but sheltered enough and wet enough that the cranberries grew in profusion and a small stand of pine had taken root and were flourishing.
Now an interesting aspect to picking cranberries was that Allan has red-green color blindness. Because he had sunglasses on it accentuated the problem of being able to see the berries in the mass of leaves. The color saturation of the red berries and the green leaves were similar. He has never seen Indian Paintbrush for the same reason.
To give you an idea of what he may see, look at the profusion of cranberries in the photo below. Then look at how hard they are to see when the color is removed by turning the photo into a black and white image. Al does not see like this; I mean as “black and white” – but he does see the red and the green as the same color.
We picked up some apples at a farm stand on the way home and I made cranberry sauce to go with a beef roast for dinner. I have never had such wonderful cranberry sauce! I make it all the time but usually make it cranberries purchased at a grocery store. This experience of picking them has got me thinking of ways I might be able to put a cranberry section in my future garden area.