Cranberries, September. Much of Richmond’s historic bog has been converted to cranberry fields. Far from the river, berries are dry-harvested, combed from the vines. Farms nearer the river use a network of dikes and pumps to flood fields about knee-deep at harvest time. The berries are knocked off the vines by machine. They float to the surface and are corralled beside a roadway and pumped into a tanker truck. The millions of floating red berries make for front-page newspaper shots every October.
When I look at an image of ripe cranberries, I am reminded of the cool weather of fall, the darkening days and the first heavy rains. These seem very far off now, in the hot dry middle of summer. We have had less than half a millimetre of rain this month, and none is predicted over the next five days.