Anakana Schofield – Author of Martin John and Malarky

I had the good fortune to visit a cranberry farm today for a birthday gathering and it was splendid.

The cranberry farm was in Richmond, which was — in this particular spot — rather like being in Holland. The only thing was the towers in what I was told was North Burnaby looked ridiculous from where we were. I thought at first they must be downtown towers, but asked our hosts, who told me it was N Burnaby.

The cranberry plants fascinated me I had no idea they grew on such a small, bush arrangement. The plants look a tad heathery in texture. I have a new respect for the cranberry. She’s a hardy, stout looking berry. In order to harvest them, water and flooding is used. Like I said the berry is hardy — she floats for collection.

I had a lovely conversation with the cranberry farmer about peat and how they used to harvest peat on this farm years ago (to sell to nurseries) and how they stacked it. We compared notes based on how my mother makes Reckles to stack her peat in rural Ireland, (used as fuel) so it can dry. The farmer described a different arrangement that was like an igloo, built up in curving walls so the peat would dry out in the wind. As we sat chatting large jumbo jets and small planes flew overhead descending to land at the nearby airport.

I am smitten by the land out there and it’s so close to the city. The ditches and tall reeds reminded me of the Norfolk Broads a bit.

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