Ruby of the pines

I think it always bears repeating that there’s more to NJ than chemical plants and turnpikes; lots of people couldn’t imagine the 1.1 million acre federally protected, mostly undeveloped preserve that lies between Philly and Atlantic City. If you can’t believe that there’s such a place in NJ, a place filled mostly with pitch pines and oaks, with only a few paved roads, then maybe a trip to the Pine Barrens is worth considering. Prepare to be amazed.

What an extraordinary sight: pinkish cranberries floating mid-harvest atop small lakes of blue water, surrounded by nothing but evergreens and oaks, under the bluest of blue autumn skies. Picture perfect, I think.

The cranberry has become one of NJ’s most important crops and the Pine Barrens are the perfect place for them to be grown commercially; the area has all the essentials for cranberries to flourish: acidic soil, sand, and plentiful unpolluted water.

I’ll ramble on some another day about how those rubies are harvested, but for now I’m just moved by how pretty some parts of NJ can be.


(There’s no turnpike here.)

11 thoughts on “Ruby of the pines”

  1. Great pictures. I’m sure New Jersey has many great protected sites. Ironically, some of the habitats that far up are pretty much the same as some of the habitats down here in North Carolina.

  2. Beautiful! I once did an article on the cranberry harvest (centuries ago) and you’ve just reminded me to try to get down that way and see it again. Thanks!

  3. Great post! And you are so right. I went to school at Lafayette College, right across the river from Phillipsburg (sp), NJ. I was overwhelmed with beauty of countryside of that part of the state (Clinton, NJ) and many others. I rank New Jersey as one of the most scenic states in the country, and like you say, an underappreciated gem.

  4. Whenever I run into someone and mention that I’m from NJ, they ask what exit off the Turnpike. Ironically I live about 3 miles from Route 78. Having said that NJ has many awesome areas including my neck of the woods.

  5. That’s such a northeastern picture.
    Perfect for this time of year, too.
    I’m thinking cranberry sauce, dressing, mashed potatoes,….

  6. I haven’t seen the cranberry bogs during harvest, but I have seen them in the late growing season and after harvest when the bogs are still flooded. The Pine Barrens has some beautiful sights.

    Owlman – I think that would put you just off Exit 14.

  7. I agree with Jayne–the photo made me think of the commercial too.
    You are the best salesperson for NJ. Yes, it is more than the negative picture too many of us have.
    I have a special reason to like NJ–my daughter’s fiance is from there–so I say–thank you, NJ.

  8. Even though plenty of cranberries are grown here in eastern Massachusetts, it’s the New Jersey pine barrens I always think about around Thanksgiving time.

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