This past October I visited my parents at one of their homes located near Bandon, Oregon. My mother and I were out shopping and site seeing on a beautiful fall day when I saw cranberry bogs left and right of Hwy 101 (the beautiful coastal scenic road) being harvested – she told me that the Ocean Spray Plant was nearby so we ventured to visit with them and get a glimpse about production and process of the local bogs in Oregon. I must share my experience learning about cranberries and a little history about this magnificent fruit.
Cranberries have been grown in Bandon, Oregon since 1885, when Charles McFarlin planted vines he brought from Massachusetts. Oregon’s growing conditions were similar to the terrain and conditions in Massachusetts. The main States for production that account for most of the world’s production is Wisconsin being #1, then Massachusetts follows with a strong second, New Jersey, Oregon and Washington are also strong leaders
Did you know Americans consume 5,062,500 gallons of cranberry sauce every season? Cranberries are almost 90% water and a fresh cranberry will “bounce” due to all the air within this little round fruit – they are also called “bounceberry”. At harvest time the farmers irrigate (or fill with water) their bogs and the cranberries float to the top for harvesting. The harvesters use this large vacuum type machine that sucks the
cranberries up a long “spout” that spits them out into big containers then they are taken to be cleaned ,washed and packaged at places like Ocean Spray – the headquarters that I visited while in Oregon.
It is an amazing and fun adventure to be a part of, watch or actively be present and involved in. If you ever get the opportunity to go help on a “working bog farm”, you will feel the great hot sunshine on your back and crisp cool fall air blowing through your hair, face and see beautiful blue sky, coupled with the red cranberry bogs filled with water, along with tree lined color (depending on the terrain) – for Wisconsin and Oregon and
Washington you will see pine trees (lush and rich green) and in the East maybe more deciduous trees like maple, birch and all and all the spectacular viewing of color will take your breath away! It is a great time waiting for you next season!
I have many recipes using cranberries – but this one I developed especially to share with you. Enjoy!
Click here to make Cranberry Upside Down Cake along with me!