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The Cranbarrier story -

A few years ago, when Patrick Moore had some time to kill between business appointments, he stopped to watch a cranberry harvest for the first time. For him, observing the workers corral the floating cranberries with wooden booms, pulling the circle tighter as the harvest was loaded onto the truck, was an amazing sight. "I couldn’t believe how hard it was", he said. Even taking the booms from one bog to the next bog was an undertaking: uncouple the booms, put them on a trailer, move the trailer and then unload the booms put them into the water and then recouple them into the needed length. He was so fascinated at the activity, he walked out to the bog to ask why the harvest was done that way. "We’ve always done it this way", was the response, "but let us know if you come up with something better".

Moore is in the environmental business, meaning hazardous waste containment industry. In his business, oil booms are used to contain pollution slicks, but he had not the slightest idea about harvesting cranberries. A little research into oil booms told him they were definitely not designed for the cranberry industry. They are made out of vinyl coated fabrics. A rough bog or gravel side will put pinholes in them and cause the oil boom to become water logged and end up weighing hundreds of pounds more.

A troubleshooter by inclination, and intrigued by the innocent challenge of developing something better for the cranberry harvest, he engineered an eight inch wide boom out of geotextile fabric. He sent the prototype to several growers for the next harvest and asked for feedback, which he got. Noting the problems and recommendations, he went back to the factory with grower advised modifications. That way, the growers designed out the problems. The following harvest, he came back with different connectors and adjusted the floating depth. A seemingly simple concept, it took some ingenuity to develop the prototype with the right material that allows water to pass through and a design that keeps it floating upright. In 1997, he started marketing the product under the descriptive name, "Cranbarrier." That first harvest, he sold about two miles of it to growers across the U.S. and Canada. In 1998, approximately 35,000-ft were sold.

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