Cranberries in a variety of culinary creations are everywhere this time of year, a staple of the Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner table.
But for Carolyn DeMoranville, the tiny, tart fruit is her life year round. She is director of the Cranberry Experiment Station in Wareham, part of the University of Massachusetts Amherst, where all-things cranberry are studied, and she said this year's harvest in Massachusetts -- where the cranberry is the state's largest food crop -- will be robust, at more than 2 million barrels.
DeMoranville, who has a doctorate in plant and soil sciences, has worked at the cranberry station for 32 years, conducting research on plant nutrient and horticultural management practices.
"I first came here as a technician, figuring out what I wanted to do next," she said. "After I got my PhD and came back, I've stayed here ever since."
Cranberries are part of her family's life, having "grown up around this place," she said. Her grandfather, who had been a wallpaper hanger, opened bogs in the 1950s, and her father, Irving DeMoranville, was a researcher at the station who had a cranberry variety named after him and was its director from 1981 to 1996. His daughter became director in 2002.
The family influence pervades the station; DeMoranville's sister, Nancy DeMoranville, is a research assistant here, and her niece, Krystal DeMoranville, is a research technician.
Carolyn DeMoranville said she gets satisfaction in her research work, "working with growers to lessen their environmental footprints" and "bring science to the communities they're in."
Recent research at the station includes studying bees, she said, working with a new insecticide to manage cranberry fruit worm, which will be effective on the worms but not harming the bees, which are essential for pollination.
As to her personal favorite cranberry-based creation in the kitchen, DeMoranville said it's cranberry-nut bread, based on an old recipe that calls for using orange zest. She doesn't.
"I use just the juice from a fresh orange," said DeMoranville, who freezes fresh cranberries for use throughout the year. "My mom made it all the time when we were growing up. It's still my go-to recipe."
Paul E. Kandarian can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.