How to Experience the Nantucket Cranberry Festival 2021
Long before the founding fathers arrived, Native Americans revered wild cranberries. For the past 160 years, every fall, the Nantucket cranberry harvest – and now the Nantucket Cranberry Festival – has turned the island scarlet.
The Nantucket Cranberry Festival: A Celebration of the Original Superfruit
Wild, tart Nantucket cranberries were a superfood for Native Americans. The indigenous Wampanoag called them “imibi,” meaning “bitter berry.” The Indians used them for cooking, medicine, and dying fabric. Legend has it, they introduced them to the Pilgrims in the 1600s, which is how they became a part of the first Thanksgiving feast in 1621.
How to cultivate cranberries
The Nantucket cranberry harvest starts on the cranberry vine, which grows in beds called “bogs,” lined with peat, gravel, and clay. Every year, growers deliberately flood the fields to submerge the vines, then beat them to detach the ripe, red berries, which float to the surface.
Where to find cranberry bogs
The Nantucket Conservation Foundation cultivates the island’s two commercial cranberry bogs, comprising 232 acres and producing 900 tons of fruit per year. Milestone Bog became the world’s largest contiguous cranberry bog in the 1950s, and Windswept Bog has been organic since 2001.
Where to try Nantucket cranberries
Visit either bog to try the cranberries on their own. Rich in Vitamin C, cranberries were a favorite snack of 19th-century sailors who ate them on long whaling expeditions to prevent survey. At Bartlett’s Farm, you can eat them in a slice of the island’s best Nantucket cranberry pie, and for boozy options, Cisco Brewers makes cranberry-flavored vodka that fuels several tasty cocktails.
Reserve a stay at Greydon House
The Nantucket Cranberry Festival is one day, but you can try them all year long when you stay at Greydon House. On our website, you’ll always find our best available rate at our Roman and Williams-designed hotel and restaurant.