Cranberries bounce over a 4-inch-high board when harvested, according to the Nantucket Conservation Foundation. Firm berries bounce, while the softer, overripe berries drop to the bottom of the sorter and are discarded.
Nantucket’s cranberries can be either wet or dry harvested. Each is processed in three steps. The cranberries are washed and blasted with a stream of air to get rid of leaves and other debris. A Bailey Separator then sorts them by dropping the berries through a series of seven compartments. At each level they may either bounce over the board into one side of the machine or drop down to the next level. The wet-harvested berries go to a frozen storage facility where they are held for processing, while dry-harvested cranberries are inspected, immediately bagged and sent to market.