LONGVIEW, Wash. — The cranberry harvest on the Long Beach Peninsula is officially “on” with the local Ocean Spray receiving station accepting deliveries.
Peninsula growers like Malcolm McPhail, who co-owns 122 acres of CranMac-brand bogs in partnership with his son Steve, are expecting “average to slightly below average” yields because of cooler than normal weather in the spring and early summer.
McPhail said harvesting was about a week behind his usual schedule and that it will take work crews about three weeks to account for his entire crop.
Peninsula berries are harvested “wet” by flooding the bogs, separating the berries and pumping them into trucks for shipment to a processor. Much of the processed product goes into cold storage in Forest Grove, Ore., where it’s stored until it’s dried or used for juice.
Fresh cranberries currently available in stores and regional farmer’s markets have been dry-harvested elsewhere, particularly in the Grayland area around Westport, Wash. Approximately 1,500 pounds of these freshly picked berries are available for purchase at this weekend’s Cranberrian Fair.
The annual fair — this year’s is the 91st — showcases “all things cranberry” including foods, crafts, bog tours and opportunities to watch berries being harvested.
In conjunction with the fair, the Columbia Pacific Heritage Museum in Ilwaco will play host to a variety of vendors offering handmade items such as pottery, jewelry, artwork, baskets woven from cranberry vines and homemade peach and cranberry pies.
A trolley will operate from the fair site at the Cranberry Museum in Long Beach to the Columbia Pacific Heritage Museum from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on both fair days. The fair entrance fee of $5 covers all events at both sites and full admission to both museums.
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