Smell the Ocean Yet?
If Delaware can be said to have a cuisine all its own, the new Salt Air defines it perfectly. Localvores, dig in.
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On the verge of Thanksgiving, the state’s only cranberry grower prepares to harvest.
As owner of the only cranberry bog in the state, Tim Johnson of Smyrna is preparing for his 11th annual harvest this month. Johnson fell into the business 14 years ago by selling sand and gravel from his property. The resulting holes were ideal for planting cranberry bogs. “It’s something I wanted to try,” Johnson says. Cranberries grow especially well downstate, where soil is sandy and well drained. “It’s a valuable crop per acre, so it makes sense to plant here.” Come harvest time, when new white berries have ripened into a healthy burgundy, Johnson will pump 1.5 million gallons of water—about three times the volume of an Olympic pool—into each of his seven bogs.
The berries will float to the top, where a machine will separate good from bad. Good berries will be sent to the Ocean Spray plant in Chatsworth, New Jersey, to be made into the company’s famous juice. Though it’s a year-long process to maintain, Johnson juggles cranberries with commercial development.
He believes the berry business could eventually be profitable, but for now, “We call it a hobby,” he says. “It’s
great for me and all of my men to get a break from what we are used to doing every day.”