Californian Holly Marshall was looking for an oceanfront home in the Westport area. She ended up with a museum and a shop in which the legendary Furford cranberry picker had been manufactured since 1957. She wholeheartedly adopted the place and its history, continuing and improving the museum. She has also reopened the Furford picker manufacturing shop and has recently finished building one herself!
The History of the Building at 2395 State Route 105, Grayland
“There is a lot of local history here,” new owner Holly Marshall reflects about her property.
In 1933, the Finnish community on the South Beach erected a social hall at 2395 State Route 105 in Grayland. Later it was used as a drying shed for cranberries.
The Ocean Spray Company took over the building in 1946 and added a large cranberry dehydrating hall.
In 1957, Julius Furford, a cranberry farmer and inventor, began to manufacture an ingenious new kind of cranberry harvester in the building, the Furford picker. He started the museum in 1986 to house his collection of historical cranberry farming implements. As his health declined, he was forced to close the museum in 1994.
After Julius’ death in 1999, his son David continued the museum, until Chuck and Gwen Tjernberg purchased the property in 2012. Gwen took over the museum and Chuck continued manufacturing the picker. As the couple advanced in age, they put the place up for sale in 2021. It was purchased by Holly Marshall.
Holly Marshall Learns About Cranberry History
“I had no idea how to run a museum,” Marshall remembers. “Gwen Tjernberg was to train me, but sadly she passed away in 2022. I needed an interesting story to tell visitors, so I learned about cranberry history from any sources I could find. I asked local visitors. It was hard because I’m really a shy person, but I did what I had to do.”
She received a lot of help from her friend of 30 years, John Shaw, executive director of the Westport Maritime Museum. Marshall’s goal is to turn the museum into a nonprofit. Thanks to Shaw, it is currently affiliated with the South Beach Historical Society.
Holly Marshall Builds a Furford Picker
As Marshall immersed herself in cranberry culture, she became fascinated with the subject. She felt she also had to continue the second part of the legacy she had taken on, the manufacturing of the Furford picker. “I had no training for this project”, she says. “My background is in art. I never did any welding, nothing having to do with fire.”
Luckily, Larry Johnson, a retired welder, walked into the museum one day. He offered to teach Marshall how to weld. She also received lots of help from other locals: Chuck Tjernberg, who built 26 pickers during his time as owner, John Shaw, and Jay Clifford. With the help of her team, Marshall was able to complete her first and improved Furford picker in late October, 2022.
The Furford Picker
Most South Beach cranberry bogs are dry harvested. In pre-Furford times, the berries were harvested with a machine that picked and bagged the berries. Then the farmer would need to go over the entire bog again and prune the vines for the next season.
Julius Furford invented a machine that revolutionized the Grayland cranberry harvest. It picks and prunes in one continuous process. Furford hand-built 600 pickers during his lifetime. Some of them can still be seen working in the bogs today. They are over 60 years old. Furford’s shop supplied replacement parts. Furford pickers were sold locally, on the East Coast and internationally.
Marshall purchases the aluminum parts for the pickers from Bergstrom Foundry in Aberdeen, where they have been manufactured since Furford’s time.
Marshall’s new Furford picker is the centerpiece of the museum collection. It is displayed next to its predecessors. Cranberry harvesting has come a long way. Anne Raynes from Hoquiam recently loaned two beautiful wooden hand scoops to the museum. Her uncle, Emil Hegres, made and used them in the early days of cranberry harvesting.
Marshall Puts South Beach Cranberry Culture in the Spotlight
Working tirelessly to place South Beach cranberry culture in the spotlight, Marshall has brought some new features to the museum.
The CranZBerry Giftshop inside the museum offers 43 unique cranberry products. This is probably the largest selection on the west coast. She has introduced the Cranberry Museum Artist Fair, strategically scheduled to coincide with the Westport-Grayland Chamber of Commerce 30-Miles-of-Junque event in September.
Other local events help to attract people to the museum. The July Cranberry Coast Faire alone brought 400 visitors in 2022.
Marshall is proud that the museum has attracted international visitors. A group of Finnish farmers touring the Pacific Northwest Coast liked the museum so much that they are planning to return in 2023. A Swedish group is also expected.
The Grayland Cranberry Museum as Community Center
“I want to give people a reason to visit the museum,” says Marshall. “We are going to host a series of art and craft classes from July to September. “Topics include, Gyotoku fish painting, soap making and much more. Tourists and locals will have the opportunity to meet at the museum and have fun together.
Already, a women’s game group meets between 12 p.m. and 5 p.m. on Saturdays.
Work campers and volunteers from the community and beyond are helping Marshall to extend opening hours and maintain the museum and shop.
“My big dream is to host a farmer’s market every Friday night,” Marshall contemplates. “There is nothing here of the kind.” Considering her track record, her farmer’s market may soon become a reality.
The Furford Cranberry Museum is located at 2395 State Route 105 in Grayland, Washington.
Current opening hours are Friday, Saturday 12-5 p.m. and Sunday 12-3 p.m.
Call the Furford Cranberry Museum and the CranZBerry Giftshop for extended summer opening hours, classes and event application forms at 760.492.4274, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit The CranZberry website and on Facebook.