A little cranberry history

Cranberries ready to be harvested in Downeast Maine.
Tom Walsh | BDN
Cranberries ready to be harvested in Downeast Maine. Buy Photo
Posted Oct. 19, 2012, at 1:39 p.m.

1550: Native Americans use cranberries for food, dyes and medicine.

1620: Pilgrims learn to use cranberries from the Native Americans.

1683: Cranberry juice made by settlers.

1816: Captain Henry Hall first cultivated cranberries in Dennis, Mass.

1820s: Cranberries shipped to Europe for sale.

1838: First record of ice sanding on bogs. Flooding first used to control insects and prevent frost damage.

1843: Eli Howes cultivated Howes variety of cranberries in East Dennis, Mass.

1845: “An Act for the Protection of Cranberries on Gay Head” put forth by Gay Head Indians on Martha’s Vineyard.

1847: Cyprus Cahoon cultivated Early Black variety cranberries in Harwich, Mass.

1850s: First cranberry scoops used for harvest. Water-harvesting tried, but abandoned. Seamen used cranberries to prevent scurvy at sea.

1854: First census on cranberry acreage —197 acres in Barnstable County, Mass.

1856: “The Cranberry and its Culture” published by Benjamin Eastwood.

1860s: Maine has more than 600 acres of producing cranberry bogs.

1863: U.S. Department of Agriculture creates Massachusetts Agricultural College (University of Massachusetts). Abraham Lincoln proclaims first national Thanksgiving.

1868: Standard 100-pound barrel of cranberries sold for $0.58 in Philadelphia, Pa.

1871: American Cranberry Growers Association formed in Massachusetts.

1870s: Six-quart pail used as standard picking measure.

1887: Snap scoop invented for younger vines by Daniel Lumbert.

1888: Cape Cod Cranberry Growers Association formed in Massachusetts.

1906: Henry J. Franklin began formal agricultural research on cranberries.

1907: First market cooperative — New England Cranberry Sales Co. — founded.

1910: Cranberry Experiment Station research facility established in Wareham, Mass. Dr. Henry J. Franklin named first director of Cranberry Experiment Station. More efficient rocker scoop used.

1912: Hayden cranberry separator patented. First cranberry sauce marketed, Hanson, Mass.

1920: Oscar Terbo invented first mechanical ride-on dry-harvester known as Matthewson. Telephone frost warning system started.

1923: Bailey Separator patented to grade and separate cranberries by bouncing the berries.

1930: Ocean Spray formed as a grower-owned marketing cooperative. One of the three founding members was Marcus Urann, native of Sullivan, Maine.

1930s: Women allowed to use scoops.

1947: Walk-behind mechanical dry harvesters replace hand scooping.

1953: First million-barrel national crop.

1960s: First successful water harvesting Sprinkler systems installed on most bogs. Cranberry products diversify and market expands.

1970s: Integrated Pest Management program used.

1983: Formal IPM programs developed.

1980s: International market developed for cranberries and cranberry products become ingredients in other products.

1989: Maine Cranberry Growers Association formed.

1995: Crop of 4,200 barrels harvested in Maine.

1996: Irving Demoranville retires from Cranberry Experiment Station in Massachusetts; Per-barrel return as much as $90.

1998: UMaine Cooperative Extension adds a cranberry position to run an Integrated Pest Management program for Maine’s cranberry industry

2002: Two independent studies find that antioxidants — which cranberries are high in — appear to provide some significant protection against Alzheimer’s disease

2009: Crop of 26,000 barrels, at 100 pounds per barrel, is harvested in Maine, representing the greatest amount so far in the state’s modern history.

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