The Cranberry Harvest in Wisconsin
|A sea of cranberries as we look across the flooded fields, ready for harvest|
|Waterfall at an old quarry in downtown Montello, WI|
|The largest tree in WI- a cottonwood. It was as wide as our car!|
We arrived at Pittsville school at 9:15 and started the day with a short film in the auditorium. The presentation was done by the Future Farmers of America advisor and the students from the class. We boarded school buses and rode to marshes about 25 minutes outside of town, where we could see the fields and watch the process from the beginning. There were fields with berries ready to be picked. These are flooded. The berries are corralled using plastic hosing and workers who use blowers or rakes to keep them moving. They go up conveyer belts to trucks who then bring them into town for processing and freezing. We also toured the offloading point, freezers, and lab. At each stop, the students explained the processes. After the tour, we were served hot lunch at the school and got samples of dried cranberries and juice to take with us. It was a bargain at $20 per person.
In the afternoon, we started what should have been just an hour tour at Glacial Lake Cranberries. They have a small visitor center where you can buy "all things cranberry". They began the tour with the same video, and then you load a bus to go just across the street to where they have more than a dozen fields, I think. It was unique that there was a man on the tour who studies pesticides for cranberries from UW Madison, and he knew the owners and had done research on that farm in the past. Our tour ran a bit longer because he added his knowledge to the tour. They have pesticides that have such a short life that the berries become almost immediately safe for consumption. The sun was shining and we managed to capture some really colorful images that I'll share with you. It was a great way to spend a day!
|The berries have a lot of bounce. You can see this when the truck empties.|
|The harvester goes through the marsh and picks the berries which float|
|A cranberry field that hasn't been picked yet. They grow in dry conditions.|
|A worker rakes the berries. He said they were about a foot deep. It was a good harvest year.|