We’ve all read the familiar adage: “When life presents you lemons, make lemonade.”
David and Evelyn Ernst shared a equivalent optimism: When their home gave them a peat bog, they planted cranberries!
In 1998, after paying for a peat lavatory across the street from their home on Heckman’s Island, close to Lunenburg David and Evelyn began the process of getting rid of trees, leveling the land and turning this undeveloped assets into a 12-acre cranberry farm.
According to their brochure, Terra Beata has become “a sizeable grower, processor and marketer of Atlantic Canadian fruit, handling over five million lbs of cranberries and other fruit every single yr from about 18 farms in N.S., N.B. and P.E.I.” Their farm now offers about two for every cent of the cranberries they process and 25 personnel are employed yr-spherical at their community processing facility. They are identified for their very low sugar dried fruit, pure juices, cocktails and preserves which are readily available across Canada and at their on-website bathroom retail store. Their frozen cranberries are exported around the globe. They gained the Lunenburg Queens Export Accomplishment Award in March. In May, Evelyn was honoured by BMO’s Celebrating Females Software.
Fall is a chaotic time at the farm. It commences with Open up Farm Working day in September, when the group is invited to tour the farm, take a look at their processing facility and sample their cranberry goods and recipes. Their Cranberry U-Decide is open throughout October, followed by the annual Cranberry Harvest.
In Oct, I went to check out the initially section of the 2017 Cranberry Harvest! Harvesting is a labour-intensive method, done entirely by the relatives and requires about two weeks to full. David and Evelyn have four young children: John (College), Rebecca (Quality 12), Ben (Grade 11) & Ella (Grade 4).
David describes their children as “good college students,” who comprehend the benefit of challenging perform. He feels that the company has been a very good discovering experience for all of them. “We really don’t shell out them,” he describes. “We set the funds into a family members pool — we do factors jointly.” Issues like snowboarding! He admits that he bought them interested in skiing early on, wanting a thing that they could carry on to do alongside one another as a family members: “Because I understood I would not be actively playing hockey,” he laughs.
As I strategy the industry, I can scent the tart, earthy aroma of the cranberry lavatory.
David, Evelyn, Ben and Ella are already really hard at do the job in the two farthest fields. Outfitted in their hip waders, they trudge by the fields dotted with cranberries. David is pushing a motorized harvester forward of him by the flooded bathroom.
The massive metal wheels in front of the equipment churn by the drinking water, taking away the cranberries from the vines. Evelyn explains that the large harvesters are at chance of tipping about in the deep ditches together the field’s edge so she goes alongside driving them with a scaled-down hand-held harvester, eradicating any remaining berries. It is a gradual, painstaking process – David states that she likes this activity, “she’s the only one particular of us who does.” Ella is helping with a hand rake. She suggests that this is her 3rd year serving to with the harvest.
When David stops to refuel the harvester, we walk together the dyke between fields one particular and two. He details out how the peat has settled alongside the dyke and needs rebuilding soon after the harvest. David describes these fields as “managed wetland,” due to the fact they identify the flooding routine. When we attain the other finish of the discipline, he clarifies that they have just upgraded the irrigation procedure from a 3 inch to a 6 inch pipe, which pumps drinking water from the overflow pond out front into the fields. The h2o floods the fields and floats the cranberries. Just after final year’s drought, they dug a next back-up pond this summer months.
I talk to David: ‘“Why cranberries?,”’ He replies that he liked picking cranberries as a baby. “I like being outside. I like a problem.” He bends down, rubs a handful of the 100 for each cent all-natural peat in between his fingers detailing that it is acidic and the perfect soil for escalating cranberries. They improve a range regarded as Stevens cranberries — prized for their plump crimson appearance and regular effectiveness. David shows me that the berries are ripe when the seeds inside convert brown.
Terra Beata, is Latin for “blessed earth”— a fitting title for a cranberry farm that observed its dwelling in a peat bog.
David and Ben return to the field, with two harvesters this time. Ben follows a number of toes guiding overlapping their swathes, to guarantee a clean up sweep. David points out, “It’s like mowing the lawn. You’re trying to get it all.” An appealing analogy, as I was pondering that Evelyn’s hand-held harvester reminded me of a weed eater.
This household eats, beverages … and wears cranberries! David fondly admits that his favorite way to try to eat them immediately after all these a long time is still refreshing from the subject. When Ella will get thirsty, she walks to the edge of the discipline for a consume — on the grass, sits a full case of cranberry juice.
She sporting activities a suitably-stylish, knitted cranberry cap, total with leaves and stem. She proudly grins, “My grandmother made it for me. She sells them and strawberry types, at the keep.” Previously an specialist in internet marketing 101 at the age of nine!
Skip forward to Oct. 28 and I am greeted by a beautiful sea of purple! The booming section has started in industry one particular! With direction from David and Ben, Ella is running the excavator bucket controls, to situation one particular end of the floating growth into the h2o. David and Ben then manually pull the increase all-around from the other aspect of the subject, commencing to encircle the berries. David uses what looks like a leaf blower, blowing the cranberries again from the edge and into the bed contained by the increase.
David points out that the cranberries will start out to stack on prime of each individual other, forming dense layers. As the boom is regularly pulled even further ahead, the cranberries will be drawn towards the significantly conclusion of the subject – exactly where the highway is far more available for vans and equipment. The pump machine is already set up and ready.
On Oct. 3, pumping of field two is in complete progress when I get there at noon. Colin Boutilier, plant routine maintenance supervisor, is operating the pump. David’s brother, Jamie has joined them in the bathroom, as he does every single harvest time. He and Rebecca are raking cranberries, directing them into the pump’s vacuum. The cranberries are pumped into the tractor trailer. The water and particles is eradicated and pumped back again into the lavatory. David and Evelyn go on to boom and blow the remaining berries into the containment location. Just before 1 p.m., Boutilier alerts that the truck is entire — about 45,000 lbs from subject two, with some berries even now still left in the field!
David suggests they experienced their greatest production past year and “this should really be shut.” He’s delighted, incorporating that Boutilier experienced designed some changes to the pump considering that previous season and it is working well.
The cranberries will now beg transported to their companion facility in New Brunswick for cleaning and then travel back household to Terra Beata Farms for long run processing. What an remarkable journey from peat lavatory to processing. As I reflect on these fields, this family — I value and applaud the wealthy crops they have developed listed here with patience, perseverance and a peat bathroom whole of goals!
The Ernst family members welcomes you to fall by for a go to or check out out their internet site @ www.cranberryfarm.ca.