Welcome Back, Makepeace Farms

In our neck of the woods, one highlight of spring is the reopening of Makepeace Farms for the season.

This independent, family-owned and -operated cafe and shop on the A.D. Makepeace Company’s Wareham campus makes some of the best house-baked cookies, pies, and muffins around. If you love Thanksgiving wraps, just wait until you try the Makepeace Farms version.

The shop is also one of the best places to get cranberry-themed gift items and gourmet foods, and this year they opened with all sort of new treats that we can’t wait to try: Chocolate Chocolate Chocolate Company Artisan Truffles, New England Heritage Coastal Beach Plum Jam, and a slew of cranberry-infused products from Willows Cranberries, to name just a few.

NOW OPEN Tuesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.


Wareham, Massachusetts
Spring, 2021

Winter Barge Sanding

Once the harvest is completed in late fall, the cranberry vines are given time to dry out and become dormant. You’ll see the color of the bog change to a deep burgundy. Winter flood, typically applied during the later winter months, protects the vines from extreme cold and harsh winter winds. The bud for the 2021 fall crop is already on the vine, and protecting it from the winter elements is a priority.

While the cranberry bogs are flooded, an opportunity for tending the vines presents itself. Growers typically use two methods of sanding: ice sanding and barge (water) sanding. Thick ice allows for the use of buggies to scamper over the ice, dropping a thin layer of sand. When ice sanding is not an option, a water barge is used to accomplish the same goal on the flooded bog. Watch our video here.

Both methods allow sand to filter down to the bog surface. The sand provides nutrients, helps with insect control, and prunes long vines. When the sand lands on a long running vine, roots and a new plant will form. It is not uncommon for a single long vine to create several new plants after being sanded. The practice of sanding is generally performed every three to five years, per bog. The A.D. Makepeace Company sands 500 to 600 acres of bog annually.

The small size of the cranberry industry means the major manufacturers don’t cater to our specialized equipment needs. Therefore, our maintenance team creates, builds, and maintains most of our machinery including picking machines, pumps, harvesting equipment, and some farm vehicles. While the manufacturing of equipment happens throughout the year, the winter allows for additional attention to be paid to such efforts.

In addition, the winter months allow for spring renovation planning, forestry management, skills/management training, and educational classes and certifications for our team.

Wareham, Massachusetts
January, 2021

Summer on the Bog

The summer months see a wide variety of activity on the cranberry bogs. In the middle of July, the cranberry blossoms have been pollinated, fruit has set, and we see the bees disappear as quickly as they arrived in mid-June. The tiny cranberry flowers have dropped their petals and green cranberries have begun to grow.

At this stage, our top priority is to keep the crop healthy and growing. It is essential to feed, weed, water, protect, and support the growing fruit.

As the berries begin to develop in size, they need nourishment. During the summer months, fertilizer is applied to bog areas to encourage growth. Careful consideration is needed to encourage fruit growth over vine growth.

As with any crop, weeds may interfere with the progress and health of the developing cranberries. Weeds that are deemed detrimental to a crop’s progress are typically hand weeded. Weeds that are not disturbing the crop’s progress are often left alone.

The traditional rule of thumb is that cranberries need an average of one inch of water per week during the growing season. Rain is preferred, as it provides nutrients that irrigation cannot duplicate. Fortunately, irrigation can balance rainfall shortages.

Technology has come to play a crucial role in each season of cranberry farming and is particularly helpful during the summer months. Our pumps are equipped with auto-start technology that make it easy to set a watering schedule that ensures sufficient irrigation.

Consistent with industry best management practices, we use Integrated Pest Management (IPM) techniques as an ecological approach to pest control. IPM includes a combination of biological, cultural, or chemical control methods. Throughout the spring and summer, trained IPM scouts use insect nets to monitor pest activity. This helps to determine if individual insect presence meets a threshold where treatment is necessary. Insecticides and fungicides may be applied during the summer months to control or prevent serious damage caused by various insects and diseases. Pesticides are only used when necessary and are applied by state-certified applicators.

With our constant support and Mother Nature’s help, our summertime efforts will result in a bountiful fall harvest!

Rosebrook, Wareham, Massachusetts
July 23, 2020

Blossom Season

adm_beesWhile many think of cranberries as a fall fruit requiring much care and attention during the cooler months, the real work begins long before the autumn air arrives. The late spring and early summer months are vital to the cranberry crop’s success.

During this time of year, the tender vines are developing cranberry buds that will turn into tiny, yet powerful, cranberry blossoms. As the bud and blossom develop, it is crucial to protect them from frost damage, provide adequate nutrients, and establish a healthy environment for growth. This phase of care and protection leads to the next critical element of crop success: pollination.

Typically, blossom time extends from mid-June through mid-July. As the tiny bud begins to open, its outer pink petals reveal a white flower. This is a unique time of year when the thousands of tiny white flowers cover the bog’s surface, resembling a light dusting of winter snow.

The sheer volume of flowers that require pollination vastly outweighs the number of native pollinators in a given bog area. For this reason, the A.D. Makepeace Company obtains a large quantity of honeybee hives and bumble bee boxes each spring to assist in the pollination process. The rule of thumb is approximately two honeybee hives per acre of cranberries or one bumble bee box per acre. While the two varieties of bees cannot be in close proximity to each other, each has its own strengths and characteristics. Although the cranberry industry has long debated the most beneficial bee, today the honeybee remains the primary bee of choice throughout the industry.

Hoppy Bog, Carver, Massachusetts
June 10, 2020

Office Temporarily Closed

June 1, 2020

welcome to our officeIn accordance with Governor Baker’s order, the A.D. Makepeace Company offices are currently operating under restricted guidelines.

For the time being, visitors are not permitted inside the office, and only 25 percent of our office staff is present at any given moment. Others are working from home, as they have been for nearly 12 weeks, and we have seen no interruptions in our workflow.

As an agricultural business, we were deemed “essential” early on, and have taken extra precautions to ensure the health and safety of our staff. The Tihonet area remains closed to visitors; permit holders will be notified when their return is allowed.

It’s a good time to remind everyone that this is our workplace! In these times of social distancing, please avoid walking around these bogs if you see us out working. Stay safe!