Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Cranberry Harvest at the Epcot International Food and Wine Festival 2013

Yesterday, Epcot's Food & Wine Festival came to a close for 2013. From what I have heard, it was a huge success and those who visited had a wonderful time. Hopefully, our family will be able to experience this event in 2014.  

Back in late September, I shared some information about the Ocean Spray Cranberry Bog at Epcot's Food & Wine Festival.  This week, I received answers from an email interview with some Cranberry specialists!  I hope you enjoy learning more about Ocean Spray and Epcot's Cranberry Bog! 
image from Ocean Spray
Kristen Borsari, Director of Marketing at Ocean Spray

1. When is cranberry season?

a. The North American Cranberry season begins mid-September and continues through early November. However, some cranberries are grown in the southern hemisphere (Chile, specifically), so those are harvested between March and May, when it’s autumn there. While much of the fruit is frozen and used to create a variety of products such as cranberry juice, sauce and Craisins® Dried Cranberries, it’s that special time of year when fresh cranberries are available for the holiday season from mid-October through December.
image from Ocean Spray
2. Where are cranberry bogs located in the US?

a. Ocean Spray is a vibrant agricultural cooperative owned by over 700 cranberry and grapefruit growers who preserved the family farming way of life for generations. Since cranberries require unique conditions in which to thrive, regions best suited for cranberry farming within the US includes Massachusetts, New Jersey, Oregon, Washington and Wisconsin. Internationally, they’re located in parts of British Columbia, Quebec, and Chile.
image from Ocean Spray
3. How big is the Epcot bog?

a. Ocean Spray’s Cranberry Bog Exhibit at the Epcot® International Food and Wine Festival is 1,300 square feet and filled with 1,000 lbs. of fresh, floating cranberries.

4. How long has Ocean Spray had a bog at the Food & Wine Festival?

a. Ocean Spray has been bringing the beauty of the cranberry harvest to the Epcot® International Food & Wine Festival since 2011. The exhibit remains throughout the duration of the festival where visitors can learn more about the taste, health and heritage of this beloved fall fruit.

5. What is your favorite part of the Food & Wine Festival?

a. My favorite part of the Epcot® International Food & Wine Festival is being able to showcase the cranberries ultimate versatility throughout a wide variety of culinary specialties incorporated in cuisine from every corner of the world, from China to Mexico, the UK to Canada!
Todd May, 3rd generation cranberry grower-owner from British Columbia 
image from Ocean Spray
1. How big is a cranberry bog?

a. The size, shape and depth of a cranberry bog depends on the land. Put together, all the cranberry bogs in North America would be 47 square miles, equal to the size of Nantucket in Massachusetts.
image from Ocean Spray
2. How are cranberries harvested?

a. Cranberries can be harvested either with a dry method or the wet method. However the most popular method is wet harvesting where the growers flood the bogs with about a foot and a half of water, and use “water reels” to loosen the cranberries from the vines they grow on. Four tiny air chambers inside each cranberry allow them to float to the top of the water, where they’re collected by the growers. So contrary to popular belief, cranberries don’t grow in water! To see how it’s done, check out this birds-eye-view of a cranberry harvest: http://bit.ly/1bToyzN

b. In the dry method, growers use a machine with metal teeth to comb the berries off their vines and collect them – this technique is used for fresh berries specifically!

3. How is a real bog different from the Epcot bog?
a. For starters, cranberries are not native to warm climates like central Florida! Cranberries thrive in cooler climates with more acidic soil. Other than that, it’s quite similar, actually! The bog display at the Epcot® International Food & Wine festival replicates a wet harvest, specifically the one to two day period during which the cranberry bogs are flooded to harvest the fruit.
image from Ocean Spray
4. What is your favorite cranberry recipe?
a. My family’s favorite cranberry recipe is this Roast Beef Tenderloin with Cranberry Red Wine Sauce:http://bit.ly/HJgQOH

Thank you to Kristen and Todd for answering these questions and helping us gain a better understanding of cranberries!  I look forward to hopefully seeing you next year at the Food & Wine Festival!


  1. I love seeing the Cranberry Bog at Epcot. It's such a fun addition to the festival.

  2. Great interview! The cranberry bog is such fun at The Food & Wine Festival! I love craisins recipes!

  3. I never knew much about cranberries Beth, thanks for the interview. I really need to try to make it to the Food and Wine Festival one year to see it myself.