The Rochester Historical Society held an Open House on Saturday, September 22 at the quaint New England East Rochester Church and Museum. The rich history of Rochester’s cranberry industry was celebrated on this refreshing and sunny first day of fall. Visitors enjoyed a seasonal bake sale, gift shop and museum tour.
“It’s cranberry time and with the history of cranberries in Rochester, we decided to include a ‘cranberry’ bake sale as part of our open house program,” said Betty Bealieu, Treasurer of the Rochester Historical Society.
Sweet, scrumptious, homemade favorites included Cranberry Chutney and Cranberry Apple Walnut Crisp. An array of fresh-picked red, shiny cranberries in crates dated 1947 and 1949 sat alongside a cranberry barrel just outside of the museum. This attraction drew in the visitors.
Inside the museum, photos, stories and tools dating back to the early 1900s were displayed. These unique relics of the past captured the interest of visitors and many commented in fascination.
“Cranberry bogs were grown on family land in the 1930s. It takes three years for a bog to go from creation to production of berries and is a year-round job to get to harvesting,” said Connie Eshbach, Curator. “The outside forces of the weather and market determine your profit. Cranberry bog owner Doug Beaton recently spoke about growing cranberries here at the museum. He grew up as a small boy around the bogs, picking cranberries and weeding. When he was 18, he worked with machinery and then became a bog owner. He brought his old tools and equipment to display and we are very grateful.”
Displays also included modern day equipment and machinery, photos of brilliant, colorful cranberry bogs and written material. By looking at both the past and present, one can develop an appreciation of how far the cranberry industry has come.
This open house was a perfect way to begin the fall season of harvest.
By Deb Burdock