Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Whitefish Point Cranberry Farm

Last week and weekend were busy as usual. I presented my power point presentation on Wednesday at the Whitefish Township library in Paradise, MI. I took Thursday off, which is the first day off I've had in quite some time. After checking in with the Shipwreck Museum (I had a booth there on Friday and taught agate classes on Saturday), I decided to check out the cranberry farm on Whitefish Point. It has been operated by the same family since 1876! I spoke with the current owner. He says they harvest 180,000 pounds of cranberries each fall!

Cranberries are a group of evergreen dwarf shrubs or trailing vines in the genus Vaccinium subgenus Oxycoccos, or in some treatments, in the distinct genus Oxycoccos. They are found in acidic bogs throughout the cooler parts of the Northern Hemisphere.

Cranberries are low, creeping shrubs or vines up to 6 feet long and 2 to 8 inches in height. They have slender, wiry stems that are not thickly woody and have small evergreen leaves. The flowers are dark pink, with very distinct reflexed petals, leaving the style and stamens fully exposed and pointing forward. They are pollinated by domestic honey bees. The fruit is an epigynous berry that is larger than the leaves of the plant; it is initially white, but turns a deep red when fully ripe. It is edible, with an acidic taste that can overwhelm its sweetness.

Cranberries are a major commercial crop in certain American states and Canadian provinces. Most cranberries are processed into products such as juice, sauce, and sweetened dried cranberries (e.g. Craisins), with the remainder sold fresh to consumers. Cranberry sauce is regarded an indispensable part of traditional American and Canadian Thanksgiving menus and European winter festivals.

Since the early 21st century within the global functional food industry, there has been a rapidly growing recognition of cranberries for their consumer product popularity, nutrient content and antioxidant qualities, giving them commercial status as a "superfruit".

No comments:

Post a Comment