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The Boston Globe

Magazine

First Person

The berry whisperer

Carolyn DeMoranville, the second-generation director of the UMass Cranberry Station in East Wareham, has spent a lifetime studying the little red fruit.

 Nutritionally, cranberries are really good for you, but in the sense of what I’ve done in my career with them, we’re looking at the nutritional requirements of the plant, what’s needed for it to grow and thrive and produce a crop. I spend most of my time here thinking about what will make the cranberry industry more sustainable. Specifically, I look at water and nutrient use and how those two interact. The rest of my staff think about all the other questions, like pest and frost management or any of the other things that could be challenging to cranberry growers here in Massachusetts.

Global warming has become a question that we’re more and more interested in, in terms of how it will affect the ability of cranberry production to stay in Massachusetts. The obvious answer is that there’s a fairly vibrant cranberry production area in New Jersey, so if we become [warmer] like New Jersey, that shouldn’t be a problem. But the longer answer is that some of the climate extremes that come with global warming — big storms, droughts followed by huge rain events — may be more of a challenge.

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