The Bog Days of Autumn
Always ready to experience new things, Duluth Women Model Jessica jumped at the chance to harvest cranberries. Did she have previous experience with cranberry harvesting? Not exactly.
As an ecological restoration practitioner, Jessica does know a thing or two about bogs, though, and she's never been a stranger to working with her hands. The rest she picked up on the job.
She's a natural
The day began at Glacial Lakes Cranberries Marsh, where third-generation owner Mary Brazeau Brown introduced Jessica to the marshes, the animals like the Sandhill Cranes and Trumpeter Swans that live in them and the history of the Brazeau's family business.
Mary also taught Jessica that cranberries naturally grow on vines in underbrush and on the ground, but because of four air pockets in each berry, they are able to float when they are ripe. And for that reason, cranberry bogs are flooded each fall at harvest time.
After her mini-lesson, Jessica, in her heat-trapping Waffle Longtail T, suited up in waders and grabbed a rake. With that, the harvesting began.
Raking it in
The buoyant, ripe cranberries are corralled in bogs by floating booms. From there, they are raked onto a conveyer belt that pulls them from the water and into a truck where they are taken to the warehouse to be washed and shipped. And Jessica, with waders on and rake in hand, got those cranberries to where they needed to go.
She had the most fun, though, learning to pilot the beater, a giant machine that resembles an eggbeater on wheels. It works by churning the water, separating the berries from their vines, so that they are ready to be harvested soon after.
The Glacial Lake effect
Jessica's day at Glacial Lakes Cranberries Marsh left her feeling a sense of comradery with the people she met, people who love the outdoors and people who, like Jessica in her field of ecological restoration, work with their hands and labor to do what they enjoy.
She also drew inspiration from Mary, the owner of Glacial Lakes Cranberries Marsh. As a Real Woman, herself, Mary's vivacious personality was infectious.
Another Real Woman
Mary's fun and inviting nature not only made Jessica feel at home, it triggered an even deeper sense of purpose. For Jessica, farming is a passion, and she one day hopes to have and work a farm of her own. And, as working with a Real Woman will do, Mary's fervent love for her cranberry farm inspired Jessica as she prepares for her own.