Grant Keefer, owner of Yellow Point Cranberries, pulls a boom into position as he rounds up cranberries floating atop the water in a flooded field Tuesday at the farm located in Yellow Point south of Nanaimo. (Chris Bush/News Bulletin)

Grant Keefer, owner of Yellow Point Cranberries, pulls a boom into position as he rounds up cranberries floating atop the water in a flooded field Tuesday at the farm located in Yellow Point south of Nanaimo. (Chris Bush/News Bulletin)

Cranberries a booming business at harvest time in Ladysmith

Yellow Point Cranberries floods fields for fruit-gathering

When harvest time comes around in Ladysmith, the cranberry business is literally booming.

At Yellow Point Cranberries, located on Yellow Point Road, workers don hip waders and lifejackets to slosh their way through flooded fields and coral cranberries with floating booms.

Yellow Point Cranberries was established in 2001 when Grant Keefer and his wife Justine purchased the property. The farm has produced the fruit commercially since 2009 on more than seven hectares of currently cultivated fields. Two more fields are also being prepared for fresh fruit production. Keefer’s family also raises cranberries from fields in Richmond and is one of about 80 families in B.C. that produce the fruit for Massachusetts-based agricultural co-operative Ocean Spray.

Keefer and a crew of workers were corralling the hectares of floating cranberries Tuesday by pulling floating booms around the berries to concentrate them into one area where they could be picked up with a conveyor that would deposit them into containers for shipment.

“I’m probably one of the last ones flooding right now,” Keefer said. “There’s probably still a couple of others going in B.C., but we’re getting down to the end.”

Keefer said it was a good harvest, but the berries are a bit smaller this year than they normally are, possibly because of a cooler summer.

“We didn’t have any excessive heat this summer and maybe that had something to do with it,” he said. “The really hot [weather], sometimes, pushes them, but it wasn’t a bad growing season.”

The majority of the fruit will be sent to Ocean Spray to make cranberry juice and sauce.

“I also have, what we call, independent acres and that’s what I sell fresh fruit [from] for going to the 49th Parallel Grocery and [other stores], farmers’ markets and everything else,” Keefer said. “But Ocean, they’re pretty good to us and they’re always good about letting us sell fruit off the farm – there’s no problem with that – because you’re promoting the product.”

To learn more about Yellow Point Cranberries, visit www.yellowpointcranberries.com.

READ ALSO: Giant apples are in season for Nanaimo farmers’ market vendor



photos@nanaimobulletin.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Agriculture

 

Farm worker Marlaina Buch uses a pole to push a boom across a cranberry field, taking advantage of the buoyancy of the boom on the water to help move it to the next location it’s needed. (Chris Bush/News Bulletin)

Farm worker Marlaina Buch uses a pole to push a boom across a cranberry field, taking advantage of the buoyancy of the boom on the water to help move it to the next location it’s needed. (Chris Bush/News Bulletin)

Just Posted

These Douglas fir logs were recently found poached on Stoney Hill in North Cowichan’s forest reserve. (Larry Pynn/sixmountains.ca)
OPINION: Cowichan Valley’s Six Mountains Forest: War or Peace—The Choice is Ours

Icel Dobel writes in favour of protecting Cowichan Valley forests

North Cedar Volunteer Fire Department crews at the scene of a single-vehicle crash on Barnes Road near Holden Corso Road in Cedar. (Chris Bush/News Bulletin)
Jeep rolls over on wet afternoon in Cedar, occupants OK

Incident happened Monday, May 17, on Barnes Road

The former St. Joseph’s School converted to the St. Joseph’s Art Studios in 2019. (File photo by Don Bodger)
Former Chemainus St. Joseph’s School site sold to addictions recovery group

Diocese stresses the importance of a community outreach option in its decision

The bow-legged bear was seen roaming 2nd Avenue on Friday, May 7 and again in Brown Drive Park on May 13. (Submitted photo)
Bow-legged Ladysmith bear euthanized after vet examination

CO Stuart Bates said the bear had obvious health issues

The Arts Council of Ladysmith and District is working with several Vancouver Island art councils on the Digitial Innovation Group to improve digital skills for Island artists. (Submitted photo)
Digital Innovation Group supports digital literacy for Island artists

The goal is to leverage digital skills to promote Vancouver Island as an ‘arts powerhouse’

North Cedar Volunteer Fire Department crews at the scene of a single-vehicle crash on Barnes Road near Holden Corso Road in Cedar. (Chris Bush/News Bulletin)
Jeep rolls over on wet afternoon in Cedar, occupants OK

Incident happened Monday, May 17, on Barnes Road

More “strings of lights” were seen on May 15, 2021, in night sky over Vancouver Island. (File photo)
Sicamous RCMP Sgt. Murray McNeil and Cpl. Wade Fisher present seven-year-old Cody Krabbendam of Ranchero with an award for bravery on July 22, 2020. (Contributed)
7-year old Shuswap boy receives medal of bravery for rescuing child at beach

Last summer Cody Krabbendam jumped into the lake to save another boy from drowning

B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix and provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry update the province’s COVID-19 vaccine program, May 10, 2021. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 infection rate stays below 500 a day over weekend

14 more deaths, down to 350 in hospital as of Monday

Royal Bay Secondary School’s rainbow crosswalk was vandalized shortly after being painted but by Monday, coincidentally the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia, the crosswalk had been cleaned up and students had surrounded it with chalk messages of support and celebration. (Zoe Ducklow/News Staff)
B.C. high’s school’s pride crosswalk restored following ‘hateful’ graffiti attack

Hate terms, racial slur, phallic images spray-painted at Greater Victoria high school

Terrance Mack would have celebrated his 34th birthday on May 13, 2021. Mack’s family has identified him as the victim of a homicide in an apartment on Third Avenue in Port Alberni sometime in April. (SUBMITTED PHOTO)
Family identifies Ucluelet man as victim of Vancouver Island homicide

Terrance Mack being remembered as ‘kind, gentle’ man

Nathan Zuk had left his mother’s residence in Whaletown on Cortes Island in mid-December 2020 in a 14’ skiff rowboat and headed to an unknown location near the Pryce Channel, Deer passage, or Toba Inlet. Photo courtesy RCMP
RCMP need help finding man who set off from Cortes Island in 14-foot rowboat

Nathan Zuk left in December, may have been last seen in Toba Inlet approximately three weeks ago

Discarded construction materials make up nearly 40 per cent of all materials sent to the landfill from sources in the city of Victoria. (Zero Waste Victoria)
Victoria looks to curb waste by turning demolitions into deconstructions

Community drafting bylaw forcing developers to be better at salvage and recycling

Emergency service workers at the collision scene along Highway 4 in Hilliers on Sunday, May 16. A motorcyclist was airlifted to hospital by BC Air Ambulance and later died. (Collin C photo)
UPDATE: Motorcyclist dies from injuries sustained in Mid-Island highway collision

BC Highway Patrol says impairment not a contributing factor in crash

Most Read