On Saturday, October 29th, Boston ICO and the Let's Get Movin' (LGM) group within East Boston Neighborhood Health Center (EBNHC) met up for a south shore adventure. The trip was organized by ICO leader, Liz and Co-leader, Nicki, and included nine kids and two coaches from LGM. The first stop was Spring Rain Farm, a family-run farm with cranberry bogs and pick-your-own strawberries. As the strawberries were long gone, we were going to have an insider tour of a cranberry harvest, a true New England experience.
Upon arrival to the farm, we were welcomed by Farmer Mary, the matriarch of the McCaffrey family. She gave us a quick introduction to the farm and what we should expect during the harvest. With four bogs on their property, they were now harvesting the final one. On the walk down to the bog we passed a large truck already filled with thousands of pounds of cranberries. At the flooded bog, workers were up to their knees (and sometimes chests) in the water - raking them within a corraled section of the bog to push the cranberries into a hose where they would get sucked up and separated out from the leaves and water.
We joined the crowd who were already watching and learning about the process. Off and on, the kids would pick a few cranberries out of the bog to examine and taste. We had discovered during the opening circle that most of the kids liked cranberry juice, but they were surprised at the tart taste of a fresh cranberry. Their facial expressions were priceless. We left the main processing area and walked around the entire bog. On the way around we learned from Head Farmer Billy how they control the water in/out of the bog. We also met the farm's curly-tailed pigs before we walking up a hill to see the other three bogs that had been harvested in the weeks prior. After saying our thank-yous to the McCaffrey family, we left Spring Rain Farm for Massasoit State Park. It was time for lunch!
After having a healthy lunch that included sandwiches, carrots, hummus, and pretzels, there were a few games of tag we left for a loop hike around the park. Maps and compasses in hand, we navigated the blue triangle trail that led us up hills and over a few bridges. We hiked through the autumn wilderness for almost three miles! Many of the kids were able to find hiking sticks along the way that were left at the end of the trail for others to use. Back at the parking lot, the tired group recapped their favorite part of the day in the closing circle. The hike slightly won over the cranberry bog visit but everyone expressed their enjoyment of the day.
A special thank you to the McCaffrey family and Nicki for the introduction.
View photos from the trip here