Colin Dewit grew up on a family farm in Langley, but he became the first member of his family to branch out into growing cranberries.
DeWit was raised on his father's Glen Valley dairy farm, but in the late 1990s his father sold the dairy business, and the land was crying out for another use.
It was a big investment with a long wait for the payoff.
Cranberries take several years to mature, with the first crop coming about three years after the berries are planted, and full maturity after six to seven years, explained Dewit, show above in a flooded field Saturday.
The Dewit family got into the industry in the 1990s, when the demand for cranberries was exploding and the health benefits of cranberry juice and dried fruit was driving demand.
As with many other popular fruits such as blueberries, too many farmers piled in all at once.
By the time the Dewit cranberries were producing, there was a glut and prices had dropped.
The family also suffered some early setbacks such as having to replant some of their early fields due to uncontrolled weeds.
Now the farms are producing, Dewit has 31 acres at several locations around the Lower Mainland, and the market has returned to equilibrium.
"It took a while for it to recover, but it's been good for the last four to five years," said Dewit.
He expects prices this year to be in the range of 60 to 65 cents per pound. An acre of cranberries is producing a good crop if it provides about 200 barrels of berries, at 100 pounds per barrel.
That would mean about 20,000 pounds of the red and yellow berries will be harvested, per acre.
With the market in decent shape, the weather was one of the big factors for whether Dewit would have a good year or not.
Cranberries need some sun and relatively dry weather over the summer months to ripen.
"We basically didn't have a summer last year," he said.
This year the damp and cold weather lasted up until the last minute.
"We got the weather pretty much in the nick of time," said Dewit.
His harvest looks to be about average for the year, he said.
Because of the way cranberries are harvested, they don't require a huge labour force.
Grown in diked bogs, cranberries are harvested off the surface of the water after the fields are flooded. Nothing has to be hand picked.
Three people can run the beater machine that knocks the berries loose, boom them into one spot, and scoop them up, Dewit said.
"You don't sleep a lot," Dewit said of harvest season, "because you always have pumps running at night."
Farmers have a fair amount of control over when they can harvest, with up to a month and a half in which to get the work done.
Dewit and his father and brother will harvest their fruit, which will be going to Ocean Spray, one of the world's largest purchasers of cranberries.
Most of his crop will become Craisins, sold dried, Dewit believes.
He'll also be working to help harvest some of the fruit for the Fort Wine Company, which makes a variety of fruit wines.
B.C. is one of North America's leading producers of cranberries.
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