CARVER — To step onto a cranberry bog, one must first walk the plank. At Fresh Meadows Farm here, two wooden boards are the only bridge across the narrow irrigation ditch that surrounds the crimson turf of the bog. A hawk rises up from the ditch, its white chest mirroring the brilliant sun on this crisp and cloudless day. The ground is springy underfoot, like a giant loofah sponge. Grower Domingo Fernandes squats and parts the emerald vines to reveal a trove of ruby-colored fruit.
Fresh Meadows is one of many bogs within an hour’s drive of Boston that offer an up-close glimpse into the growing process for the berry whose juice is prized here. The harvest typically stretches from late September to early November and is highly variable depending on the weather. It’s easy to arrange a trip to a bog and a bounty of fresh-picked cranberries, and farmers are frequently eager to share the fruits of their labors.