You Should Be Eating Cranberries for Breakfast — and other Important Life Lessons We Learned at a Cranberry Bog November 26, 2019
Down a dirt road lined with pitch pine trees and white clapboard colonial houses, 30 minutes outside Cape Cod, Mass, you’ll find a cranberry bog on The Most Thanksgiving-Ready Farm in America.
Gilmore Cranberry Co. is run by three women: Sue Gilmore and daughters Alison and Abbie — the Gilmore Girls, if you will. Much like the television characters Lorelai and Rory, famously in one episode attending four Thanksgiving dinners in one day, Sue and her daughters appreciate the importance of a well-executed holiday meal.
“Cranberries, they’re always the star of the show,” says Sue while monitoring the 2019 harvest of her ruby-red cranberry bog. “ Whether it’s from the can or homemade—I like both—cranberry sauce is the most important part of the Thanksgiving dinner plate.”
Spending a day with the seventh-generation cranberry farmers is like spending a day with mystic cranberry guides. We learned everything from how to tie-dye a t-shirt with cranberry juice to how to make a fresh cranberry necklace. By the end of our trip, we were wiser, bursting with antioxidants, and ready to bring our newfound love of the little tangy-sweet globes back to our holiday table and beyond.
Here are a few essential life lessons we learned at Gilmore Cranberry Co.:
1. Kindness is everything.
The cranberries are harvested by flooding a dry bog with water, then gently shaking the berries loose from their vines. Naturally designed to float, they bob to the surface of the cranberry bog to then be skimmed and collected. Because of the delicate nature of the vines, each part of the harvesting process needs to be done with the utmost conscientiousness. “We have to be nice to the berries, basically,” says Sue.
2. Caregiving is a 24/7, 365-day job.
Cranberries are a relatably-emotional plant, sensitive to changes in air temperature, weather, and environment. Sue told stories of sleeping in her garage so she could check on the vines in the middle of the night, sometimes once an hour, to make sure they were comfortable and continuing to thrive. If that isn’t True Love, we don’t know what is.
3. How you start your day matters.
Immune-boosting, nutrient-rich, and just generally-delicious, cranberries are definitely now in our breakfast rotation.“Throw ‘em in a smoothie! I’m serious. They’re also great cooked in oatmeal or in pancakes,” says Alison. “They’re good and good for you.”
4. Family first.
The three Gilmore Girls all share the same sentiment about why they love their job. While helping to sort through a freshly-picked haul of cranberries, Abbie affirms, “Working with my mom and sister is the best. We have this family here, and then we know we have an even bigger family elsewhere with everyone who’s eating our cranberries.”
By the end of the season, the Gilmore family will have harvested upwards of 20,000 pounds of cranberries, many of them making their way to Thanksgiving dinner tables around the country. This year, as we take a slice and a scoop (we’re going canned and homemade for you, Sue!) of cranberry sauce, we’ll be thinking not only of the attention and care that went into their harvest, but of the three women who taught us just how to do it—and so much more.
Looking for more crantastic content? Check out 5 Cranberry Recipes to Cook this Fall!