Red And Wet! How Cranberries Are Harvested In Belarus

The end of September-beginning of October is the traditional time for cranberry harvesting. This small deep red berry ripens on slender creeping shrubs in bogs and wetlands.

So, before picking up the berries, people need to stock up on patience and high rubber boots. See how cranberries are harvested in Pinsk district, Brest region, Belarus.

The local cranberries plantation, founded back in 1985, is the largest in Europe, collecting between 300 to 350 tons of vitamin-rich berries a year.


Workers harvest cranberries at the plantation Polesskie Zhurawiny in two ways: by hand and with the help of tractors. The best and biggest berries are collected manually; tractors are used to collect small ones that will be used for making sauce, juice, jams and other produce


Workers are recruited from Pinsk and the surrounding villages 


They are paid from 15 to 45 Belarusian rubles (7-20 US dollars) per day


This technology has been used to grow cranberries for commercial production since XIX century


The USA is the world’s major commercial producer of cranberries. Other big producers are Canada, Poland and Scandinavian countries; a number of cranberry farms exist in Belarus and Russia


Cranberries are harvested in the fall when the fruit takes on its distinctive deep red color


A harvester is driven through the beds to remove the fruit from the vines


Harvested cranberries float in the water and can be corralled into a corner of the bed and conveyed or pumped from the bed for further processing


Although most cranberries are wet-picked as described above, there are other plantations where the fruit is dry-picked. Dry-picked berries are less bruised and can be sold as fresh fruit. In dry-picking, everything happens in an exactly the opposite way: beds are drained and berries are harvested by hand


The biggest cranberries may reach up 1.5cm in size, but most regular fruits grow up to 1 cm


Berries can be fresh stored in wooden barrels filled with water for quite a long time, but usually they are destined for processing


Cranberry is rich in vitamin C, almost as much as oranges, lemons, grapefruit and strawberries


In the Belarusian language cranberries are called “zhurawiny”. Linguists believe this is due to the fact the berry is much loved by cranes, called “zhurawli”

Pictures by Radio Svaboda, Russian text by Currenttime.tv