Take This Job & Love It: Sugar Hill Cranberry Co. 

If you have an idea for an upcoming “Take This Job and Love It” email Chelsey at [email protected]——————Thanksgiving is just a couple weeks away.In this “Take This Job and Love It” Chelsey Anderson worked to bring you one of the most popular side dishes. An estimated 21-million pounds of cranberry sauce is eaten on Thanksgiving.Chelsey headed to Sugar Hill Cranberry Company in Columbia Falls to help with the harvest.———————Chris: “As you can see, see the bogs? They grow like this. They don’t grow in water.”Premium berries, such as the classic Cape Cod variety you see in stores, are harvested in these dry fields. These tend to be your sweeter berries and are used for fresh fruit.Today we would be water harvesting the Stevens and Pilgrim variety berries. John: “These are what we use for cranberry sauce and cranberry juice.”Chris: “There’s nothing like homemade cranberry sauce.”I decided to try one of the berries.Chelsey: “Pretty juicy. Very Interesting.”By very interesting, I meant very tart. These varieties could lock your jaw pretty quickly, but they were still tasty!Chris: “Cranberries have little air pockets in them, so they’ll float. So what we want to do is knock them off.”Chelsey: “Okay. Let’s give it a try.”Chris gave me some quick instructions and stressed the importance of following the line.Chris: “See the line where it’s a little more shallow?” Chelsey: “Yes.” Chris: “That’s the line we are trying to follow.” Chelsey: “okay.”Chris: “What you want to do is overlap the line. So anything that didn’t get picked on that side.” Chelsey: “We’ll get that.” Chris: “alright.”I took the controls and we started off with a kick.Chris: “As long as you don’t go in the ditch we’ll be fine.” Chris: “Yeah. I definitely don’t want to go in the ditch!”Chris was pleased with how I was doing on the machine. Now it was time to gather the pilgrim variety of berries. Chris: “You’re going to help Kenny push the berries toward that suction box. And then as you push and the berries are going in, I’m going to close up this wrap so it will keep it a little bit tighter to get the berries up there faster. When you see them start to suck into that suction box then you start pushing.”Chelsey: “Oh, I see it going down.”Kenny: “Just keep pushing. Just push towards it.”Chelsey: “Kind of like I’m sweeping the top.”Before long John called for me to join him at the tank. Here the berries would be power washed and put in the truck.John: “Anything like this just pull that out and just (motions pushing forward).”John: “These cranberries go to a local blueberry processor and what they’ll do is clean them one more time and then they’ll freeze them and they’ll use them for many different items.”By the end of this process the truck would carry 25-thousand pounds of cranberries. Sugar Hill Cranberries harvests about 165-thousand pounds of berries a year.Chelsey: “So Chris, we did a lot with cranberries today. How do you think I did?” Chris: “You did a great job. A fantastic job on the picking machine. Real straight lines. You did good getting all those berries pumped into the truck. We’ve got a full truck to take to the processor so the processor will be happy, too.” Chelsey: “That’s a good sign. So does that mean I could be hired.” Chris: “You’ve got a pair of waders with your name on them.” (laughter) Chelsey: “Thanks a lot.” Chris: “Thank you.”——————–Chris and John will be at the Maine Harvest Festival Saturday and Sunday, November 10-11 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Bangor Auditorium and Civic Center. It’s five dollars to get it. Chris and John will have their 1930’s operation underway and have berries for sale.If you’d like more information about Sugar Hill Cranberry Company you can find them on Facebook or visit their website: