Dear Sun Spots: Where are cranberries grown now?

Years ago, there used to be cranberry bogs on the Cape in Massachusetts. I had friends who used to rake them there. I would appreciate any information. – Ruth in Livermore.

Answer: In addition to responses from readers, Harry Ricker of Ricker Hill Orchards’ (Turner, (207) 225-3455, says they have pick your own cranberries on the perimeters of their bogs where the picking machines will not reach. This is available in mid October and interested customers should call (207) 225-3455 before traveling to the farm to check for available berries. Ricker says picking the bog edge is easier because you do not need to bend down as much. He recommends you wear rubber boots because you will be standing in the water ditch on the perimeter of the cranberry bog.

In the meantime, you might be interested to note that in the early 1900s, Maine had a small commercial cranberry industry. After many years of inactivity, it was reborn around 1989 with encouragement from cranberry processors. During the past decade, approximately 39 farms have developed 267 acres of cranberries. Most, about 84 percent of these, are located in Washington County. In 2002, approximately 20,450 barrels of cranberries were harvested from 219 acres. One barrel is equal to 100 pounds of cranberries. The berries are packed with vitamins, nutrients like antioxidants, and other natural compounds. Cranberry juice is believed to alleviate the symptoms of urinary tract infections.

Along with Ricker Hill Orchards, you and your family might want to also visit:

John Harker/Debra Parry, Chimney Mill Wild Cranberry Farm, RR1 Box 2250, Mount Vernon, ME 04352. You can also contact them via e-mail at [email protected]

Ted Sparrow, RR2 Box 101 (along Route 126), Gardiner, ME 04345 or David Popp, Route 128, Box 880, Dresden, ME 04342.

Hopefully you and your family will enjoy the following recipes using cranberries:

CranApple pie from Ricker Hill Orchards. Ingredients: 9-inch pastry crust for a two-crust pie; ¾ cup brown sugar; ¼ cup sugar; ¾ cup all-purpose flour; 1 teaspoon cinnamon; 4 cups fresh cranberries; 4 cups tart apples, cut and pared; 2 tablespoons butter. Method: Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Combine sugars, flour and cinnamon in a large bowl. Mix in the fruit. Place in a pastry-lined pie pan. Dot with butter and cover with top crust. Cut slits into the top to release pressure, and bake for 40 minutes or until golden brown.

Also from Ricker Hill Orchards, Cranberry BBQ sauce. Ingredients: 2 cups fresh cranberries, ¾ cup sugar, ¼ cup pulped orange juice, ½ cup BBQ sauce. Method: Heat berries, juice and sugar in saucepan until sugar dissolves and the berries pop. Stir in the BBQ sauce until it is well blended.

Down east cranberry nut bars (from Judy Farnsworth, County Road Cranberry Bogs, Columbia Falls in Washington County). Ingredients: 1½ cups flour; 1½ cups sugar; 2 cups cranberries; 1 cup chopped nuts; 2 eggs, beaten; 1 stick and one inch of melted butter (do not substitute). Method: Mix together the flour, sugar, eggs and butter into an even cream. Stir in the cranberries and nuts. Spread mixture out into a 9-by-13 pan. (It may be difficult. Use some muscle). Bake in the oven for 50 minutes at 350 degrees. Cut into squares and remove them while still warm.

Cranberry salsa. Ingredients: 12 ounces of homemade cranberry sauce; 1 jalapeno chili, seeded and finely chopped; ¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro; ¼ teaspoon salt; 2 tablespoons chopped scallions; 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice; 2 teaspoons sugar. Method: Combine all ingredients. Mix well. Refrigerate for several hours until flavors blend. Serve at room temperature. Great with chicken, fish, tortilla chips or fajitas.

Dear Sun Spots: I have many old Sports Illustrated magazines as well as many old newspaper with historically significant stories, and headlines. Does Sun Spots know of any person or business that is interested in purchasing these items? Perhaps, someone in your reading audience has this information. I can be reached at (207) 743-5745. Thank you for any help you can give me. – No Name, Norway.

Answer: In addition to responses from readers, Sun Spots would encourage you to contact your local historical society to see if they might be interested in these items.

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