Littered across the landscape of central Wisconsin are cranberry farms. And the fall cranberry harvest is underway. Cranberries are one of the few crops that are native to North America. And cranberries don’t grow underwater.
Cranberries are grown on low trailing vines in sunken beds called bogs. Grown in sandy soil, the plants are perennial and come back year after year. Once they are ready to harvest, the bogs are flooded with water. The Dempze Cranberry Farm sits beside the Wisconsin River and utilizes a reservoir of water from the river to fill the canals around their cranberry bogs. When the time is right, a gate is lifted by the cranberry bog and is flooded with water.
Once the bog/marsh is filled with water, a harrow tractor mows the cranberry marsh to gently knock the cranberries off their vines. Cranberries are hollow inside and the air pocket makes them buoyant allowing them to float to the water’s surface.
A large boom is then placed around the floating cranberries and they are corralled to one corner of the cranberry marsh. A large berry pump is placed in the floating cranberries and they are pumped up to a separator. In the separator, the cranberries are separated from leaves and debris and the cleaned cranberries are moved to an open trailer and are ready to be transported to a processing plant. A special thanks to the Dempze, Biegel, and Hoffman families for allowing me the opportunity to fly my drone and capture videos and still photographs. #cranberry #cranberries #harrow