Sunday, November 2, 2014

The Wisconsin Cranberry Highway

I'm always up for an adventure, and adventures are even more enticing to me when they sound zany and a little off-the-wall. So, when Geiger & Associates PR invited me to go on a last minute press tour to take photographs of the central Wisconsin cranberry farms, I naturally couldn't resist.  Afterall, there are no autumn colors or changing leaves in Los Angeles. Not to mention my lungs wouldn't mind a little fresh air every now and then.

 Anyway, I found myself days later on a flight to a place I had never been before (the state of Wisconsin), to learn about a fruit I apparently knew nothing about (I didn't know Wisconsin was the top producer of the little red gem), to meet up with a bunch of journalists and photographers from around the country. The ensuing experience was nothing short of incredible, and I am so blessed to work in a profession that takes me on such crazy adventures.

Here are some images from the first full day of the trip, where we visited Glacier Lake and Elm Lake Cranberry Farms on the "cranberry highway" in central Wisconsin. Special thanks to Wisconsin State Cranberry Growers Association, Glacial Lakes Cranberry Farm, and Elm Lake Cranberry Co for making this experience possible.

Wild cranberries growing in a field. (No, they do not grow underwater).

Metal ramps placed into the flooded cranberry fields for the tractors to enter

After the fields are flooded with approximately 4 feet of water, the tractor agitates the cranberry bushes under water to loosen them from their branches and make the cranberries float to the surface

My point of view while wading in the cranberry marsh

The best way to describe what it feels like to walk through a flooded cranberry marsh: like walking through a pool of floating jellybeans.

Workers gently push the cranberries towards the mechanism that pushes them up the ramp and into the truck

Cranberries being dumped into truck from the marsh

Truck full to the brim with cranberries

Cranberries being dumped at the processing plant to be later turned into frozen or dried cranberries

Cranberry holding tanks at the processing plants

Frozen cranberries

Their are numerous cranberry varieties, including the incredibly tart "yellow bell"

Fresh cranberries, straight from the field

More posts to come! Check back for images from day 2, 3, and 4 of my trip. Now go drink some cranberry juice!

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