Cranberry weekend 2012
PJanuary 30, 2014
For two people who love to explore, we really don’t travel a whole lot. When we do travel, we like to do it right – in the car, on epic road trips. Our first trip as a couple was from Chicago to southern California, with lots of states and stops on the way there and back. Two years ago, we took this road trip out east. For as much as we love it, we don’t get to do it nearly enough. We decided that it would be a good idea to plan more mini adventures, and we actually went on one September, 2012. I know I’m late in posting it.
Another tradition the two of us have is going to do u-picks. We are regulars in the Michigan blueberry patches every summer, and we love picking apples, peaches, strawberries, etc. We have always been curious about the cranberry bogs in Wisconsin, but we actually packed up last fall to check it out for ourselves. It was beautiful. We are so glad we went!
The town we went to was Warrens, WI for the annual cranberry festival. The population of this town is 363 people. We were expecting a festival, but not anything like what we experienced. It was out of control. When we were approaching the town on the highway, traffic came to a complete stop about five miles out. It was incredible how backed up things were. I later read on their website that they get over 100,000 visitors and I totally believe it. The festival itself sprawls out through the entire town. Booths were set up in in the streets, in front yards, literally everywhere. It felt much more like a flea market than anything. Most of the products being sold were unrelated to the little red fruit. Think Midwestern county fair – lemonade shakeups, fried foods, and tacky clothing – and you’ll get the picture. Our favorite things were the cranberry kettle corn (do not miss this treat if you go) which we waited in a super long line to buy, and, of course, the cranberry bog tour which took place on a big yellow school bus. The tour took us on the back roads around Warrens and into the cranberry farms. We were able to walk right down into one of the fields or bogs (still dry, of course) and check it out. We bought a few pounds of cranberries to take with us.
After the festival was over, we took the long way home so we could drive past some of the cranberry farms. We got to see the fields in various states of harvest. For those of you unfamiliar – cranberries are grown in ditches on low, creeping shrubs. The plants are agitated so that the berries fall off while the fields are flooded, so the fruit float to surface. They are skimmed off the top and harvested. It’s that easy! Maybe I’m oversimplifying a little bit.
So what does one do with 7 pounds of fresh cranberries besides eat them raw, scream, and make a sour face? Make jam and freeze the rest. We are still working our way through the bags in our freezer by tossing them in muffins and baked oatmeal.
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