First WINNERS of a Free Pound of Fairland Farm/Cape Cod Organic Sweetened Dried Cranberries

This couple is smiling because they are the first winners of a free pound of Fairland Farm/Cape Cod Organic sweetened dried cranberries. Chris and Agnieszka participated in the “buy ten/get one free” punch card program that Fairland offers for our frequent buyers. If you don’t have a punch card come on out and see Bonnie at the Hope Artiste Village Farmer’s Market on Saturday’s from 10:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. at 1005 North Main Street in Pawtucket. We will continue to offer this program for the remainder of the winter market and will continue it into the summer market at Hope Street where we will be vending on Saturday mornings from 9:00 – 1:00 as well as Wednesday evenings 3:00 – 6:00.

RI Monthly : The Dish

ON THE JOB WITH: Fairland Farms

The cranberry bog at Fairland Farm in Norton.

When you picture cranberries, don’t just think of cranberry sauce; envision glazes for meat and fish, fun cocktails and sweetened dried cranberries as a nutritious snack. There’s so much you can do with the cheery red berries to enjoy them year-round and in your everyday diet, says Bonnie Cavanaugh, R.N., herbalist at Fairland Farms and author of the book Rubies in the Sand, a cranberry cookbook.

Fred C. Bottomley operates Fairland Farm, LLC and Cape Cod Organic Cranberry, LLC. He owns Fairland Farms’ 350-acre farm in Norton, and bogs at five other locations in Massachusetts, including Sharon, Easton, Falmouth, Dartmouth and Mashpee. We recently toured the Norton bogs, where we learned lots of interesting facts about cranberry harvesting and its agricultural history in our area.

WHO: Bottomley’s ancestry can be traced back to the days of the Pilgrims. His tenth-generation grandfather, John Alden, came over on theMayflower as a barrel maker, and he settled in the Plymouth Bay Colony. Bottomley’s eighth- and ninth- generation grandfathers started farming in Norton, where the family business now flourishes as Fairland Farm.

WHAT: Cranberries have moderate levels of Vitamin C, fiber and manganese. Native Americans introduced the Pilgrims to the nutritious berries that grew wild in New England. The cranberry is said to have gotten its name from the crane-like flowers that bloom on the vines in May. The light pink petals look like the head of a crane; hence the term “cran” -berry.

WHEN: Cranberries are harvested in mid-October using two different methods: wet and dry harvesting. During the winter, bogs are flooded with water, so that there’s about eight-to-twelve inches of water above the vines. The few inches of water above the vines freeze, and the vines are preserved beneath the layer of ice.

WHERE: You can buy Fairland Farms berries at the Wintertime Farmer’s Market in Pawtucket, Eastside Marketplace in Providence, Lees Market in Westport as well as at the Whole Foods at University Heights. In summer, they’re sold at Lippitt Park market, Attleboro and other farmers markets.

WHY: Native Americans ate the berries for the medicinal benefits, and sailors in the sixteenth century kept them on board to ward off scurvy, which is caused by a lack of Vitamin C. We eat them because they taste good. By purchasing Fairland Farms cranberries, customers are assured that they are supporting a local family business.

HOW: For dry harvesting (watch a video), the farm operates eleven Furford pickers, machines that have teeth that comb the bottom of the vines to rouse the berries off the vines and up a conveyor belt and into burlap sacks. For wet harvesting (watch a video), the bogs are flooded and large tractors with egg-beater-like arms agitate the berries off the vines, so they float to the surface. “Cranberries float because they have hollow pockets where the seeds are stored,” says Bottomley. Berries are then corralled using booms. They are processed and portioned into tamper-proof packaging in Cumberland. Dry harvested berries can be sold fresh, while wet harvested berries are used for juices, sauces and dried cranberries.

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At the Farmers Market with Bonnie {video}

Emily’s Garden at the Farmers Market with Bonnie.

Dry Harvesting at Fairland Farms {video}

Dry harvesting, the “new” old way. Cranberries were once scooped by laborers with wooden scoops while crawling on their hands and knees. The cranberries were collected in wooden boxes then brought to a screening house for sorting. Times changed and mechanical harvesters were invented, but the labor is still very intensive. These dry pickers are called Furfords. They are chain driven and guided by experienced workers. They follow the contour of the bog, and the berries are separated from the vine, rising up a conveyor belt and dropped into burlap bags which will be brought to collection points for screening.

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Wet Harvesting at Fairland Farms {video}

Wet Harvest
The cranberry bogs are flooded with 6 to 8 inches of water so the Water Pick Tractors can drive through and separate the berries from the vine. These tractors have agitating, spinning rollers on the front that graze the vines, causing the cranberries to be released. Cranberries float because the interior seed cavity has a hollow area. The bogs are then flooded to a depth of approximately two feet so they can be corralled by a floating boom. The cranberry has now grown to its ripest, fullest state and is ready for its journey to you.

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Still Praising Farmer’s Markets

When looking for that perfect Christmas gift for that special someone on your list, don’t forget to check out the wonderful bounty of your local farmer’s markets. I will be vending, tomorrow, as usual at the Hope Village Artiste’ Indoor Market which is located on North Main Street in Pawtucket. Sweetened dried cranberries and a copy of “Rubies in the Sand: Recipes from the Cape Cod Cranberry Bogs” make the perfect hostess gift during the holidays and why not stuff those stockings with real fruit snacks like sweetened dried cranberries…a healthy alternative to those hollow chocolate Santa Claus’s?
We have an ongoing frequent buyer program and for every 9 pounds of sweetened dried cranberries you purchase the 10th pound is free! Now is the perfect time to stock up for your holiday baking and gift giving. What a great teacher’s gift a bag of sweetened dried cranberries would make!
Stop by Pawtucket tomorrow and say hello!

Thankful for leftovers!

Hello Friends of Fairland Farm!
It’s been awhile since my last blog but I did make a Thanksgiving pledge to myself and friends that I would try to blog more consistently, at least once a week with a new recipe if nothing more.
The cranberry harvest was completed a couple of weeks ago and bags of fresh cranberries began showing up in the grocery stores around mid-October; a sure sign of the holiday season. Believe it or not, there are those of us who consume cranberries year round for their nutritional benefits and their yummy taste. When added to other dishes, the tartness of the cranberry acts to bring out the flavor of other foods making even the most boring dishes take on a new life.
This week’s recipe focuses on using leftovers from the Thanksgiving Feast…mainly turkey and cranberry sauce. It’s from my cookbook “Rubies in the Sand; Recipes from the Cape Cod Cranberry Bogs” and can be purchased online at or come and see me at the Hope Village Artiste’ Market on Saturday morning and I will be happy to sign a copy of it for you. I hope you enjoy this recipe…it’s easy and delicious!
1/2 pound cooked turkey, sliced
4 slices of thick, sourdough bread
3 tablespoons of whole berry cranberry sauce
1 tablespoon of light mayonnaise
1 finely chopped Chipotle pepper
1 cup of tightly packed, baby spinach leaves
2 slices of red onion
2 slices of Cheddar or Monterey Jack Cheese
2 tablespoons of olive oil
Combine the cranberry sauce, mayonnaise and chopped Chipotle pepper. Spread this on two slices of the bread. Pace half of the spinach, one onion slice, 1/4 pound of turkey and one slice of cheese on top of the spread.
Cover with the top half of the bread and flatten with your hand. Brush the olive oil on the outside of each piece of bread and cook in a panini press, following the manufacturer’s directions. Repeat with the other ingredients to make a second sandwich.
Don’t have a panini press? No worries…simply use a cast iron skillet to weigh down the sandwich or you can take a brick, wrap it in aluminum foil and you have a perfectly serviceable panini press.
I hope you like this recipe and would really welcome any feedback you may have. If there are other cranberry topics you would like me to address on this blog, just let me know. I am, after all, known as “The Cranberry Lady”.
Happy Holidays!

Let the summer season begin!

Well, the summer markets have officially opened and to say I am busy these days is an understatement. We kicked off the summer season at the Farmers Market at Attleboro Farm on May 1st. While it’s been a rainy May, market turn out has been consistently good and it’s great to see returning customers, old friends by now. This market runs every Sunday from 12:00 until 4:00 rain or shine and offers a variety of local produce, grass fed beef, farm fresh organic eggs, organic and conventional produce, artisan breads and a variety of local artisan products and, of course, Fairland Farm’s sweetened dried cranberries! The market is held at the Attleboro Farm and Garden Center which is located on Hickory Road in North Attleboro, Mass.
The Pawtucket Artiste Village Indoor Winter markets on Wednesdays from 4:00 to 7:00 p.m. and Saturdays from 10:00 to 1:00 are winding down with this week being the last week for each. There’s still a lot to be had at this market and makes a good stop on the way home from work to pick up fresh produce, grass fed beef, organic lamb, free range chicken and eggs and, of course Fairland Farm’s sweetened dried cranberries!
A new market for Fairland Farm this summer is the Easton, Mass NRT Farmer’s Market which is located at 307 Main Street in Easton, MA. This market is open every Tuesday from 2:00 p.m. until 6:00 p.m. and Saturdays from 10:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m. This is more than a farmer’s market it’s an actual working farm with lots to see and do. There’s local seafood available, fresh produce, natural dog treats, local honey, organic eggs, artisan breads, home made pickles and, you guessed it, Fairland Farm’s sweetened dried cranberries and our book, “Rubies in the Sand: Recipes from the Cape Cod Cranberry Bogs”.
We’ll be participating in several other markets and I’ll let you know a little more about them in another blog in the very near future.
Come out and say hello and meet the people who grow your food. It inspires one to eat healthy, local food as it’s hard to resist the freshest of the fresh!
All the “berry” best to you!

More Praise for Farmer’s Markets

Those who have read my blog in the past (all three of you :-) ) know how much I love Farmer’s Markets for the many benefits they bring to the people who shop there, the farmers who vend there and the community in which they are held. Yesterday I had quite a magical experience at the Pawtucket Farmer’s Market.
The Pawtucket Market is huge. Close to 2000 people walk through this market from 10 a.m. until 1 p.m. every Sunday. People from all walks of life, all levels of income and literally, from all of the country and world as it is THE spot to bring people visiting from another state or country to showcase what produce and farm products the Rhode Island and Southeastern Massachusetts community has to offer.
Yesterday was no exception. A busy market day and as I looked down the corridor at the crowd I thought I was looking at a scene from a National Geographic special. Several Tibetans, dressed in their native dress, were being led through the market on a tour by their sponsor. All I could think of was Sherpas and the Himalayan mountains. They stopped at our booth and I had a chance to speak to their sponsor and learned a little bit about these visitors.
They were actually refugees, Buddhists, fleeing their country and persecution by the Chinese government. They spoke no English and we conversed through their sponsor and I asked them if they were enjoying the market and if they had ever had a cranberry? Well, you know there isn’t even a word for cranberry in their language! To see the expression on their faces as they tasted their first ever cranberries was priceless. Smiles, laughs and handshakes followed proving that when you bring people and food together it generally results in a good time and it was quite an honor for me to introduce them to our native berry, the cranberry.
While I can’t get political and go on about the plight of these Tibetans on this blog, suffice it to say that I admire their courage tremendously. I wish them luck in their new home and I hope their family and friends in their country find peace, soon.

Cranberries for the Cold and Flu Season

I can’t help but wonder will spring really be here in 40 days? Hard to believe when one wakes up to temperatures of 10 degrees and three feet of snow on the ground so icy on top that my forty-five pound Sharpei, Lily, has no problem walking on top of it. A winter wonderland for sure but with winter comes the cold and flu season and although it seems to be a mild flu season this year, there is never a shortage of the common cold.
If you’ve read my book, ‘Rubies in the Sand; Recipes from the Cape Cod Cranberry Bogs” you know that I truly believe, as my hero Hippocrates did, that food is our best medicine. Without a proper diet we are more susceptible to being invaded by a passing cold or flu virus. These are air born and you simply need to be in the same room with someone who’s coughing and sneezing to be exposed to these viruses.
Once you come down with a cold there is very little you can do except what we call in the nursing world “comfort measures”. Rest, drink plenty of fluids and see your doctor if symptoms worsen or fever persists. Eating foods that are warming is what you should think of doing when you have a cold or the flu. Garlic, onions, any member of the allium family are wonderful antimicrobial foods that research now tells us really do help our immune systems fight these intruding viruses. [Read more…]