the disney food blog Rotating Header Image

Tales From the Bog!! Our Time in Epcot’s Ocean Spray Cranberry Bog…

Welcome to a rare treasure of a post today on Disney Food Blog! For a year, Disneyland expert Heather Sievers and I have been trying to figure out how we could pull on some waders and get into that Ocean Spray Cranberry Bog at the Epcot Food and Wine Festival. And now we get to tell you about the day it happened! We have a LOT to share with you, so without further ado, let’s jump right in (literally)!

Ocean Spray Cranberry Bog at the Epcot Food and Wine Festival (Note that the person in the bog is NOT AJ or Heather)

Bogging By Moonlight

Heather Says: When one is given the opportunity to put on some waders and hop into a Cranberry Bog, the answer should always be YES.

AJ and I were given the chance to attend a reception INSIDE the Ocean Spray Cranberry Bog at Epcot’s Food and Wine Festival, where we learned that running away from home and becoming a bogger sounds like a pretty great plan.

Heather showing off her berries

AJ Says: To be honest, Heather and I have known for over a year that we were cut out to be boggers.

Ever since Ocean Spray featured its Bog in Epcot last year, we’ve been campaigning for our very own waders. (By the way, thanks to all of you who heeded the call when I asked you to petition Ocean Spray to let me get into the Bog earlier this year — it worked! And you guys know I rarely share photos of myself here on DFB, but this one was too fun!)

AJ working hard in the Bog

We quickly donned our cranberry-red wader socks (yep — you have to wear special socks with the waders!) and jumped into our new attire for the evening. Once suited up, we were told to sit at the edge of the Bog and swivel around to get in. Even though the Bog is only a couple of feet deep, it still took some getting used to!

Boots -n- Berries

Heather Says: The moment we put on our waders, we knew we were in for a good time. After all, see those tables in there? Those were for drinks and hors d’oeuvres. IN. THE. BOG.

Ocean Spray Reception Menu

Ocean Spray & Disney did a fabulous job planning the cranberry inspired eats and drinks.

Ocean Spray Eats

Cranberry-infused Cocktails

However, our focus for the evening was spending as much time as possible in the bog, bogging.

AJ Says: True, indeed. While we’re both food bloggers by trade, learning to be a cranberry harvester and speaking with the Ocean Spray growers about their work quickly took us away from the eats. We couldn’t wait to try our hands at those rake thingies!

Heather learning to push the berries while harvesting

Heather Says: While we were pretty sure we were ready to open our own Cranberry Farm at this point, we unfortunately learned that most, if not all, cranberry farmers are actually born into the business — making it pretty much impossible for us to get started in the profession. (Some farmers have been in the cranberry business for 5 generations!)

AJ Says: But since Ocean Spray is a co-op of over 600 growers who all own a little piece of the company, we got to quiz several of them who were on hand at the Bog to share their wisdom.

Heather Says: One of the evening’s highlights was definitely speaking with cranberry grower extraordinaire, Jim Bible. Jim’s father purchased 16 acres of land in Wisconsin 28 years ago, and the family has grown the farm to 32 acres.

Cranberry Grower Jim Bible

Jim and his father currently run the property and Jim hopes that his young children will continue on with the family business as they grow older. I encourage you to check out Jim’s family video here on the Ocean Spray website to get an idea of the kind of work these folks do. (And how awesome Jim and his family are!)

And If it weren’t for Jim, we wouldn’t have learned how cranberry bogs worked. For example, I always thought that the berries grew in the water, but nope! The plants are flooded only to harvest them. Once the area is flooded, the berries (which have air pockets) float to the top. For those stubborn hangers-on, a tractor-like machine called a “ruby slipper” comes through and “slips” the ruby berries right off their vines.

AJ Says: Jim was kind enough to take the time to answer all of our very in-depth cranberry growing questions. He even showed us a few photos on his phone of how things really were done.

Photo of berry harvesting at Jim's bog

And after we were finished pestering Jim, we got the chance to meet Adrienne Kravitz and Peter Beaton, both Ocean Spray growers in different parts of Massachusetts. Click on their names to learn about their stories!

It was an honor to meet all of the growers, and hearing how dedicated they are to their work — and how much they LOVE their work — made us even more impressed with the Ocean Spray company. To read more about Ocean Spray and what this co-op of growers is working on, check out the Ocean Spray website.

Overall the evening was truly outstanding. Many thanks to Disney and Ocean Spray for putting together one of the most interesting, fun, and informative events I’ve ever been to!

Bog By Day

This is AJ again, and I wanted to share some info about the Bog by Daytime! Even though getting in the Bog was a special event for media covering the festival, anyone can visit the bog during the day in Epcot and learn from the growers who are taking time out of their busy harvesting season to share their stories with guests! (Nope, you can’t get IN the bog, but being there is almost as good!)

Ocean Spray Cranberry Grower in the Epcot Bog

Take the time to ask questions, and be sure to wander around the bog where you’ll see a step-by-step display of how cranberries are grown and harvested!

How Cranberries Grow

Why Cranberries Float and Bounce

Harvesting and Corraling the Berries

How Berries get to Your Table

I’ve loved the addition of the Cranberry Bog to the festival these past two years, and I hope it continues! Now go buy some cranberries!

And, Jim, Adrienne, and Peter, get the guest rooms ready, ’cause Heather and I are on our way up to help! :-)

Note: While we were invited to attend the Ocean Spray Event at no cost, this is NOT a sponsored post and we have not been paid to write it. We pretty much just love the Bog and the people in it. We had an extraordinary night, and we wanted you to know about the people who make it all happen.

Other Posts You May Enjoy:

No related posts.

20 Comments

  1. Jessica says:

    I very much enjoyed reading about your experiences in the cranberry bog!! I will Defintely have to share this with my mom, she will Defintely get a kick out of this. At the holidays she is always talking about how cool a job it would be to work and harvest cranberries. Thanks for sharing!!

  2. Sara says:

    That is SERIOUSLY awesome!!! What a cool experience!

    (Also: I’m sure it wasn’t like that AT ALL, but I still can’t help but think of the I Love Lucy episode where they crushed the grapes for wine with their feet hahaha.)

  3. Prof. Brainard says:

    This reminds me of the times when Mr. Rogers would show a brief film on how pencils are made or cabbages harvested or some similar topic. The best part of your experience, it seems to me, is that now you have your Halloween costumes: pull on your waders, grab your rake, sling a sack of cranberries over your shoulder, and you’re good to go!

  4. marcellina says:

    What fun! I’m so glad you both got to experience this and then share it with us! I always love tv shows that focus on how things get made or behind the scenes in factories, etc so this is super interesting to me! You both make awesome boggers! Bog on ladies!

  5. Michele says:

    I am SO jealous!!! I have always wanted to get in the bog, what an amazing experience! That looks like so much fun and I always thought they were grown in water too! I joke with my traveling partners that I’m going to get IN the bog at Food and Wine this year and they keep telling me “you aren’t allowed you can only LOOK at it” and I said, “clearly you mis-understood me. I said I WANT IN THE BOG!” Thanks for letting us live vicariously through your bogging experience!

  6. Brooke says:

    That’s great! So glad you got to do this.

  7. Alan says:

    AJ after you and Heather are done raking cranberries, come on up to NC and help me rake my lawn. No need to mention that there will be plenty of drinks and snacks afterward. Oh, heck we’ll have the drinks first and forget about the leaves.

  8. AJ says:

    Jessica — That’s awesome! Tell your mom to run away and be boggers with us!

    Sara — Ha ha! We had so much fun!

    Prof. Brainard — Perhaps that’s why it was so much fun — just like being in that weird picture/TV on Mr. Rogers’ wall… (the crayons were my favorite)

    Marci — We had a blast, and we really did learn quite a bit.

    Michele — We’ll have to get you in there with us next time!

    Brooke — Thanks, B!

    Alan — This is why we like you so much, Alan!

  9. Ems says:

    OH MY BOG! That looks like so much fun!!! What a neat experience. How were the cranberry beverages and edibles?

  10. Glen says:

    Ok i am curious I think I takled to you on a bus from Art of Animation on our way to MK and I was talking to you about Palo aboard the Disney Fantasy then you gave us two Fast passes becasue it was our anniversary… Was that you AJ?

  11. AJ says:

    Hi Glen — Nope, not me :-( I’ve never been on a bus from AoA.

  12. Paula B. says:

    Love anything cranberry, it always speaks of home and holidays and yumminess. My friends have a plot of land for sale with a bog, it’s located in southeatern Mass., can let you know the particulars!

  13. Corey says:

    AJ – how bad is it that I’ve been reading the blog for a over a year and just discovered you’re a female?

  14. Janna says:

    Beyond cool…I saw the bog last year but we didn’t stop to read anything or talk to anyone because we were there during that 60-hour monsoon. I have always wondered about cranberries and the water! Thanks for sharing your uber cool experience!

    Corey – your comment totally cracked me up!

  15. Essie says:

    Thank you so much for sharing your unique and wonderful experience with us! We love Ocean Spray products and think the way the berries are grown is fascinating. I’m glad that the two of you got to enjoy this fun time and shared it with us.

  16. JoAnn says:

    what a fun experience

  17. Heather Sievers says:

    @EMS – Everything was awesome but we were so obsessed with the bogging we didn’t eat much. I tried the cranberry chocolate chip cookies and a chicken salad that were fab. Also had two of the drinks which were way tasty too!

    @Paula B – That is tempting!

    @Corey – She gets that a lot! ; )

    @Janna – Bummer about the weather you hit, good excuse to go back for round two!

    @Essie – We were so excited to share our bog experience with everyone!!! It was so much fun! Ocean Spray products are great!

    @JoAnn – Fun with a capital F!!!!

  18. Shayne says:

    Ok, I officially want to be you when I grow up!

  19. AJ says:

    Shayne — Same to you!!

  20. Pat says:

    I recently was at EPCOT and was able to talk to one of the ladies who works in the bog. What an wonderful, informative experience. I learned so much about cranberries from stopping at the site. They also give free samples of cranberry/raisins at their Ocean Spray booth.
    Highly suggest stopping and seeing the bog!

Leave a Reply

Current month ye@r day *