Ever wondered what a cranberry farm really looks like? Besides what you see on those Ocean Spray commercials?
While Kaitlin and I were up in the Northwoods of Wisconsin, we stopped here for a tour and some cranberries. It was a pretty sweet, (well, tart really), detour.
See these trucks? Notice how they are FULL of cranberries? And this is only one of many full truckloads that will be loaded that day. I’ve never seen so many berries all at once.
This here is the flower bud that will eventually turn into a berry. Each small stem carries only one berry, and yet think about how many they actually harvest! I would tell you if only I remembered, so just use your imagination.
And contrary to what some assume, cranberries do not grow under water. The farmers just fill the beds of cranberry plants at harvest time, then rake through the branches, loosening all of the berries, which float to the top of the water. This harvesting technique must have been a real game changer in the world of cranberry production.
And who would’ve thunk? The reason cranberries float is because they have air pockets at their core. Did I mention how educational this little field trip was? It was great.
Then these tractors shoot water at the berries, herding them toward the edges of the beds.
Once they are collected, the men don their overalls and power up the cranberry sucking-sorting-cleaning machine.
These guys were hard at work but had high spirits, joking around and doing kung fu kicks in the knee high water.
Between Kaitlin and I, we left that farm with over six pounds of cranberries. And for someone who never really gave much thought to the little tart red fruit, I was excited to experiment. Though my kind of experiments usually involve mixing in butter and sugar. No harm in that though, right? Maybe even zest things up with a little lemon? Now we’re talkin’.
That’s what I call “farm to table”.