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Tart Fruits of the Spirit

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But what happens when we live God’s way? He brings gifts into our lives, much the same way that fruit appears in an orchard—things like affection for others, exuberance about life, serenity. We develop a willingness to stick with things, a sense of compassion in the heart, and a conviction that a basic holiness permeates things and people. We find ourselves involved in loyal commitments, not needing to force our way in life, able to marshal and direct our energies wisely.
Galatians 5:22-23 The Message


Cranberries have grown in Oregon since the 1880s or 1890s, depending on what region of the state. W.C. King, the “cranberry king,” grew his crop in Tillamook county. Further south in the 1880s, Charles McFarlin planted the cuttings he brought from Massachusetts in Coos county.

The Oregon coast has ideal conditions for the cranberry crop. The sandy, peaty soil combined with the humid and foggy atmospheric conditions and the long winter rainy season give the Oregon cranberries their rich red color and stoutness. These conditions also increase the sugar content, increasing the sugar levels of the fruit, decreasing the amount of added sugar. It is not perfect – the wind coming off the Pacific disperses weeds into the beds.

Cranberry farmers maintain natural pest control by flooding or sanding the beds. Harmful insects are eaten by beneficial flying creatures, keeping insecticide usage low.

In bogs, cranberry fruit grows on vines. During harvesting, water floods the bogs so reels, tractor-like machines, can beat the vines to cut the berries loose. Harvest time in Coos county occurs from mid-October to early December.

Cranberries aren’t just for Thanksgiving Dinner – though Oregon produces green beans and potatoes to go with that dinner. They are juiced, freeze-dried, powdered for supplements, and locally brewed for cranberry wine.

Learning the fruits of the Spirit is not usually a sweet experience. It usually comes through trials and tribulations, sharp and sometimes bitter experiences.

Pruned fruit removes damaged pests and inferiorly positioned branches, increasing the light and air penetration.

The pruned fruit brings us forth to be holy lights. We will need to be compassionate for those who see, peace for those in turmoil, and life to the spirit of death.

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