Written by Patch Editor Patricia A. Miller
There will be a cranberry harvest at Double Trouble State Park this fall, despite a battering by Superstorm Sandy last October and very wet weather this spring and summer.
"The bogs fared okay after Sandy, but some of the harvest was not completed due to general damage at the park," said Bob Considine, a spokesman for the state Department of Environmental Protection.
Honest Berries has been weeding and maintaining the cranberry bogs all year in preparation for the October harvest. The DEP late last summer issued a special use permit to the company for the October harvest.
"Their work has continued this year, as they were issued a lease in the winter," Considine said. "So they've been doing the normal weeding and maintaining of the bogs and they're experts at it."This year's harvest may be hampered by cold temperatures in the spring and an excessive amount of rain, which could cause the berries to rot, he said.
"All cranberry bogs in the state are looking at the same problem," Considine said. "So it remains to be seen how many thousands of pounds of cranberries will yield from the park this year, but there will definitely be a harvest at Double Trouble in October."
The Leni-Lenape Indians were the first to harvest cranberries in the park. But the Double Trouble cranberry industry began to flourish at the beginning of the 20th century, when Edward Crabbe first cut down cedar for his flourishing lumber business.
As the marshes were gradually cleared of cedar, Crabbe decided to make cranberries his primary business, his grandson Daniel Crabbe has said.
"They really went all out with the cranberries," Crabbe said during a talk at the Berkeley Township Historical Society last year. "He built the packing house. He laid it out and built it himself. It was one of the most modern packing and sorting houses. They took the cranberry vines and placed them in the bog area. At the end, there were eight separate bogs."
During its halycon days, the Double Trouble Company employed five full-timers year round and between 50 to 60 seasonal employees for the harvest. The Crabbe family sold the Double Trouble tract to the state in 1964, for use as a state park.
The state then leased the bogs to private companies for many years.