• Lorraine A. Lee

Seasons imitate life

Cranberries remind me of happy times like helping my mother set the table for Thanksgiving dinner, knowing people I loved were joining us from near and far. Cranberry sauce was jellied and store bought or homemade. It's something I saw her make 100 times and never use a recipe to cook it in my own kitchen decades later. It's a sign of old New England for me because that's where she was from, born in Rhode Island in 1928 just a little over an hour from Plymouth where the Pilgrims landed.

Our Landscape Design Council had a "field trip" to a charming cranberry farm and we learned about the old ways of harvesting these berries-red is my favorite color and they brighten up a cold, colorless Thanksgiving time. The handmade, wooded machinery made me think of how hard life was for our ancestors who were one with the land whether they wanted to be farming or not. It was a matter of survival. I heard a farmer yesterday say, "you have to be an optimist to farm".

Each berry is selected by hand making sure before they are sent to Ocean Spray they are perfect and ripe.

The company buys cranberries from many farms and a few years ago, they did a marketing survey about children and cranberry juice. They found parents didn't want to get red juice stains on their carpets at home from little ones' spills so they created a white cranberry juice. Do you know how they do it?

They don't use the red berries, only the lightest ones. Now many families drink cranberry juice.

Fall in New England is beautiful but fleeting. Loving to garden and see color and feel the sun on my face seems so sad to leave. The coming Winter lasts too long for my taste. But I look for nature's beauty where I can find and to share with others. Now I feel like making a loaf of cranberry bread and smelling it in the oven will remind me of Mom. I know she's be glad I was doing something productive, creative and most of all, serving it to those I love.

Cranberry bogs have little "streams" running through them and close to harvest time, the berries float. The farmer's kitty cat was so friendly and kept careful watch of the birds on the farm.

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