Southampton Road first graders teach School Committee about cranberries

Southampton Road first grade teacher Terry Mason with students Madison St. Peter, Talia Marx, Meredith Callini and Cruz Baumann and their cranberry bog display. (Photo by Amy Porter)

WESTFIELD – Southampton Road elementary first graders in Terry Mason’s class gave a presentation to School Committee members Monday on how to plant a cranberry bog in a cup.

First graders Madison St. Peter, Talia Marx, Meredith Callini and Cruz Baumann took turns talking about cranberries and their project. Cranberries are one of only three fruits native to North America, in addition to Concord grapes and blueberries. Cranberries don’t actually grow in water, like most people think, but on vines in beds layered with sand, peat, gravel and clay.

First graders help School Committee members plant cranberry bogs in a cup Monday.

Cruz Baumann said the way you can tell if a cranberry is fresh is by whether or not it bounces. Cranberries have pockets of air inside that makes them bounce. If damaged or spoiled, they will not bounce. To demonstrate, Baumann dropped a small cup of cranberries on the chamber floor, to everybody’s delight.

School Committee members were then invited to come and create a cranberry bog in a cup. Students helped them as they added clay, gravel, peat and sand and planted their vines. They were told if they followed directions and took care of them, including keeping them outside and watered during the winter, the vines would bear fruit next summer.

Mason said that she recently connected with the Makepeace and Ocean Spray cooperative, who provided all the supplies for the project to the class. “I can’t say enough about them,” Mason said.

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