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October 19, 2017

The harvest, in photos: Here's how cranberries get from bog to Thanksgiving table

At Hogwallow, tradition and modern mechanization blend to bring in the crop

Farming Cranberries
Carroll - NJ Cranberry Harvest Thom Carroll/PhillyVoice

A worker at the Pine Island Cranberry Company near Chatsworth, Burlington County, helps with the 2017 harvest on Thursday, Oct. 12, 2017. The company operates 1,400 acres of bogs.

Cranberry harvesting season in the fall is short, intense and increasingly mechanized in South Jersey.

But the work still depends on crews of workers, as it has since cranberry cultivation began about 200 years ago. The Haines family in rural Burlington County has been at it for more than 125 years.

RELATED STORY: In South Jersey, cranberries are one sweet cash crop

Last week, they took PhillyVoice journalists on a guided tour of Hogwallow, the name for the land where they operate Pine Island Cranberry Company.

Harvesting cranberries begins in late September on their 1,400 acres of bogs with orchestrated crews of men. The crimson fruit go from bogs to a collection facility at nearby Ocean Spray all in one day. The receiving facility is just a few miles away in Chatsworth. 

The closest juice and food processing plant for Ocean Spray is in Pennsylvania's Lehigh Valley.

Here's a visual tour of the cranberry harvesting process at Hogwallow:

Thom Carroll/PhillyVoice

Farm workers operate “knockers” to shake the ripened berries from submerged vines.

Thom Carroll/PhillyVoice

Shaken from the vine, cranberries float in a bog.

Thom Carroll/PhillyVoice

The fruit floats because they are hollow inside.

Thom Carroll/PhillyVoice

The cranberries are corralled...

Thom Carroll/PhillyVoice

...then harvesting equipment sucks them from the water and gives them a first rinse.

Thom Carroll/PhillyVoice

The cranberries are then shot into the back of a dump truck...

Thom Carroll/PhillyVoice

... for transport to the packing house.

Thom Carroll/PhillyVoice

At the packing house, truckloads of berries are dumped into another rinsing machine...

Thom Carroll/PhillyVoice

...before they are loaded into an 18-wheeler for the short 6-minute trip to the Ocean Spray receiving plant in Chatsworth.