Cranberry Harvest At Double Trouble State Park Unlikely This Year
This would be the second season no leaseholders have stepped up
The acres and acres of bogs at Double Trouble Start Park are dotted with the tiny pale pink flowers that will soon be transformed into crimson cranberries by early October.
But this year, like 2011, it is unlikely there will be anyone to harvest the berries. No leaseholders for the bogs have stepped forward for the 2012 harvest, said Robert Considine, a spokesman for the state Department of Environmental Protection.
"If we decide to lease the bogs, it would be doubtful that the lease would be finalized in time for someone to be able to harvest cranberries in October, as the lease would have to be approved by the State House Commission, whose next meeting is in September," Considine said.
That was disappointing news to Daniel Crabbe, whose grandfather Edward purchased the Double Trouble tract back in 1904. He first ran a successful lumber company, then branched out into the cranberry business. The Crabbe family sold Double Trouble to the state of New Jersey for $300,000.
Daniel Crabbe even suggests that the state lease the bogs to interested companies for a dollar a year, rather than leaving the berries in the fields to rot.
"It's a tradition," he said of the cranberry harvest. "I might say something."
The park staff has kept the water levels in the bogs at the appropriate level since the last harvest in 2010, Considine said.
"The Park's maintenance staff has been doing everything they can to control the water so that the bogs remain viable and stave off eutrophication," he said.
Cranberry plants are "very hardy," Crabbe said.
"They will survive," he said. "They can survived a couple of years without being harvested. If they can find someone for 2013, that should be okay. Maybe not as big a harvest than if they were maintained. Once in a while, my father would leave a bog flooded. He said that would regenerate it."
After the sale to the state, Crabbe's father leased several bogs from the state and continued to harvest berries for the next seven years.
"He made a little money with the wet harvesting," Crabbe said.
Other farmers leased the Double Trouble bogs from the state for many decades. But the last leaseholder opted out in 2011. Last autumn was the first time in more than 150 years there was no cranberry harvest at Double Trouble.