Handmade picking scoops for harvesting cranberries are on Take the outdoor “Walking Tour” at the Pacific Coast Cranberry A historic photo from the Pacific Coast Cranberry Museum
display at the Pacific Coast Cranberry Museum. Museum and you can literally put yourself in a cranberry bog. shows workers sorting cranberries by hand.
the Pacific Coast Cranberry Museum
tucked away on Washington’s Long Beach Peninsula, is a hidden gem.
STORY & PHOTOS BY CATE GABLE FOR ACTIVE LIVES
The Pacific Coast Cranberry Muse- opened the museum. control and a costly blight affecting worked.
um and Gift Shop, tucked away mid- “We purchased the land and the their crops. Though Crowley invented the con- ‘Weed Whackers’ and dibbles
peninsula between Long Beach and buildings with a grant, initially,” says So Lee has cranberries in his blood. cept in 1923-24, it took WSU until the Then there’s the forebear of the
Klipsan Beach on Washington’s Long Melinda, wife of longtime cranberry “I guess you could say I was bap- ’40s to support the technique. modern weedeater. This huge and dan-
Beach Peninsula, is a hidden gem. grower Lee Crowley, “and six years later tized in a cranberry bog,” says Lee, “I Now, smudge pots are a thing of gerous precursor is like finding a fossil
“Yes, we’re a well-kept secret,” says we did some logging on the site and fell in the lake when I was 5 or 6.” the past. Most orchardists have over- dinosaur version of a modern bird.
Museum Director and Pacific Coast paid off the loan.” “Then I became a cranberry farmer,” head sprinklers with blower systems, Labeled “Weed Whacker,” it is a
Cranberry Research Foundation board Malcolm McPhail, prominent coastal he says, “and I worked in the industry utilizing large propellers, to broadcast long, cumbersome wooden stick with a
member Melinda Crowley. “I think a lot cranberry farmer, and Lee Crowley for 40 years.” water on freezing nights to protect fruit large brass propeller blade, levers and
of people on the Peninsula don’t even were instrumental in saving the site. trees, vines or other crops. wires. A heavy duty cable, plugged into
know we exist.” “Freezing” the crops This is only one of the fascinating an electric drill mounted on the handle,
When Washington State University Family cranberry heritage The elder Crowley, an agriculture history tidbits you’ll discover at the powered the rotating blade. On the
decided to shut down the research The Crowley family has a long histo- graduate of State College of Washing- Cranberry Museum. wall is a vintage photo showing its use
facility, established in 1923, and move it ry in cranberries on the coast. ton (now WSU), discovered that it was in the bogs of yesteryear.
to Mount Vernon, Wash., North Coast Lee is the son of D.J. “Jim” Crowley, frostbite that was killing the tips of the
Bog boots and
Adjacent to this display is a series of
cranberry growers took matters into who was the first cranberry researcher cranberry vines. He invented a tech-
the Seven Bounce Test
handmade “dibbles,” used to push the
their own hands. to work in the area. Jim and his wife nique, now widely used in all agricul-
What’s fun about the museum is
vines into the sand for planting. The
In 1993, growers from Washing- Ruth came to the Peninsula and created tural production, based on the physics
that North Coast residents might take
accompanying explanation notes that
ton, Oregon and British Columbia the research facility in 1923. Crowley concept of “latent heat.”
their culture for granted because
this tool was named after an old-time
purchased 40 acres and the research was called in by coastal cranberry farm- When ice melts, it actually produces
they’re swimming in it. But cranberry
cranberry grower, “Art Dibble.”
station, created a foundation and ers who wanted help with pests, weed heat. That got Crowley thinking.
farming on the coast has a 100-plus-
Melinda laughs. “When Lee and Mal-
His counterintuitive hunch,
colm were talking about all the tools
unheard of at the time, was that sealing
The museum displays handmade
with the contractor we hired to set up
ountry P et V et
the cranberry vines with a covering of
tools for planting, raking, pruning, gath-
museum displays, they winked at each
ice might protect them from frostbite.
ering and sorting cranberries. There are
other and said, ‘Oh, yeah, wasn’t this
Compassionate Affordable Animal Care
The proof was immediate – it
evolving versions of incredibly weighty
named after that old-time cranberry
A Full Service Veterinary Clinic
“bog boots,” with what looks like over-
sized golf cleats on their soles, for walk-
A museum inside-joke was born.
MOVIE & A MEAL
Dr. Lisa M. Bartel - Lebovitz, D.V.M.
FIRST: GET A MOVIE!
ing in the bogs to save damage to the
20 Years of Veterinary Service vines.
Don’t miss the gift shop
• Over 20,000 rentals
• 100’s of used VIDEO There is a 1947 Hailey Cranberry
Entry to the museum is free of
Compassionate & Affordable Care
movies on Sale
sorter, which, as Melinda explains,
for Dogs, Cats & Horses
charge. “Sales in our gift shop balance
• Specializing in
“gives cranberries the seven bounce
the budget,” says Melinda. “We try to Films
• Full surgical & dental care
carry a range of gifts unique to our
• Wellness Exams
750 Astor St., Astoria • 503-325-7310
• After hours emergency
THEN: GRAB A PIZZA!
The eight-foot upright portion of
• Vaccines & flea control
the machine, run by an elaborate set of
The store has everything cranberry.
• Boarding gears and wheels, allows the cranber-
Some items are unusual, including
• Pet foods & products
ries to bounce down into a series of
cranberry soap, body and hand wash,
Race you to the vet!
seven wooden pockets before being
cranberry muffin room freshener and
We use and sell SCIENCE DIET foods & REVOLUTION flea and parasite control
Style guided onto a conveyor belt for further
cranberry shower gel. There are also
Call for appointments
cranberry candles and cards. On the
(360)484-7228 - TOSSED PIZZA
If a berry falls to the bottom box of
wall are several beautiful circular
Whole or by the slice
the machine, it has failed the bounce 300 Parpala Rd. Naselle, WA 98638
wreaths made of red cranberry vines.
740 Astor St., Astoria • 503-325-6400
Monday - Friday 9am - 5pm • Saturday - Sunday By Appointment test and will be discarded. And, of course, there are cranberry
10 | MARCH 2010 | ACTIVE LIVES | www.dailyastorian.com/activelives
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