Lake Nokomis Cranberries, Inc. and Eagle River

On July 28 we took a short drive (about 25 miles) over to the Eagle River, WI, area.  The first place we visited was Lake Nokomis Cranberries, Inc.  This is a huge cranberry farm and winery.

The area in which cranberries are planted on this farm is a one mile by one mile tract of land.  Cranberries are a unique fruit because they can only grow and survive under a very special combination of facts.  These factors include acid peat soil, an adequate fresh water supply, and a growing season the extends from April to November.

Cranberries grow on low-lying vines in beds layered with sand, peat, gravel, and clay.  These beds are commonly called bogs or marshes.  Many people mistakenly think that cranberries grow under water.  They do not.  When you see cranberries floating on top of water, they are actually being harvested.

We took a tour of the cranberry farm and learned SO much from our tour guide.  He was a very knowledgeable guy who is a retired attorney but helps on the farm.  I cannot even begin to remember all the things he told us about growing cranberries.  It TRULY is fascinating, so google it if you’d like to know more.

I do remember one thing.  Most of us probably think that Massachusetts is the largest producer of cranberries, however, that is incorrect.  Since 1995, Wisconsin has produced the largest crop of cranberries.  Currently they produce about 57% of the United States total production.  Massachusetts fell from first to second largest producer at that time.  It currently produces another 23-30%.  The remaining U.S. crop comes mainly from New Jersey, Oregon, and Washington.

Here are some photos of the cranberry fields that will be harvested this fall.

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There were fields…

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…after fields…

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…after fields of cranberries!

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Believe it or not, there are actually cranberry plants in this field (I know – it kind of looks like a field of weeds!). It is a newly planted field this year and won’t produce a crop to harvested for three years!

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Close up of some of the cranberries that will be harvested this fall. Darn! I wish I could be here in the fall to see the harvesting! It sounds fascinating to watch.

The store and winery (it is a SMALL winery) was lovely.  There we sampled the four wines they make on the premises.  They were ALL very good.  In fact, last year they submitted three of their wines at the state competition and came home with one silver medal and two bronze medals!  Three medals for three wines submitted.  That’s pretty good for their first time!

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We bought some of their wine along with some dried cranberries, cranberry jelly, cranberry wine jelly, and some cranberry BBQ sauce. I can’t wait to try the BBQ sauce on some pork steaks!

Next we visited the small town of Eagle River, WI.  I just love all these small communities in this area known as the northwoods.  Each town has it’s own uniqueness.  The downtown areas are always interesting and filled with a lot of unusual shops along with the usual “tourist” shops.

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We had a wonderful time learning about cranberry farming, cranberry wines, and visiting Eagle River.  I can’t wait for our next adventure!

So, for now ….. “On the Road Again!”

Betty

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