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)!
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.
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!)
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!
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 & Disney did a fabulous job planning the cranberry inspired eats and drinks.
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 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.
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.
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!)
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!
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.