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Cranberry Harvest A Possibility At Double Trouble State Park This Year

by Patricia A. Miller

It's been nearly four years since there was a complete cranberry harvest at Double Trouble State Park.

But that may change this fall.  The state Department of Environmental Protection is hoping  to issue a special use permit to Deptford-based Honest Berries to maintain and harvest the Double Trouble bogs, spokesman Bob Considine said.

"We anticipate Honest Berries will apply for another Special Agricultural Permit for 2014, which would expire on Dec. 31, 2014," he said. "After that, we’ll go for a long-term lease via public bid.

Honest Berries decided not to go ahead with the harvest of several of the nearly 100-year-old cranberry bogs last year because of poor weather that affected crop yield throughout the Northeast

Honest Berries conducted a limited harvest in 2012, but the harvest was cut short when Superstorm Sandy roared into Ocean County on Oct. 29, 2012.

Co-owner Joseph Brandt said in October 2012, before the storm, that the company hoped to sign a long-term lease for the historic bogs.

Since then, the bogs had been harvested by various second-generation cranberry farmers. The latest leaseholders decided to retire in 2010, according to the DEP.

The Leni-Lenape Indians were the first to harvest cranberries in the park. But the Double Trouble cranberry industry began to flourish at the beginning of the 20th century.

Edward Crabbe of Toms River bought the Double Trouble tract in 1904 and formed the Double Trouble Company. His primary goal was to cut lumber for his sawmill company.

But he pulled out the tree stumps in some areas and used the acreage as cranberry bogs, according to "When Cranberries Were King," a book published by the Ocean County Historical Society.

The Double Trouble Company soon became one of the largest cranberry operations in the state.

"Double Trouble Village was typical of company towns built in the Pine Barrens," according to the DEP's website. "These isolated communities were entirely self-sufficient and totally dependent on the success of the particular industry."

The Crabbe family sold the Double Trouble tract to the state's Green Acres program in 1964, but leased back 125 acres and the outbuildings to continue his cranberry business.

Since then, the bogs had been harvested by various leaseholders.i

The cranberry bogs and a number of outbuildings at the park make up about 200 acres of the roughly 8,400-acre park. They are part of the Double Trouble Historic District, which was placed on the State Register of Historic Places in 1977 and on the National Register of Historic Places in 1978.



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