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Experience the Amazing History of Cranberry Harvest for Yourself!

I’m partnering with Ocean Spray® for its NYC Cranberry Classroom.

I love showing our boys (and learning myself!) where our food comes from. We garden, we visit farms and farmers’ markets, and try to get them to experience as much as possible of the farm-to-table life.

Last week, I took the boys into New York City on the first day of fall for an incredible foodie learning experience: Ocean Spray®’s Cranberry Classroom. I learned right away that this year is the bicentennial of the first cultivated cranberry harvest in America. How amazing is that? 200 years of cranberries! And right in my backyard since so many cranberries are grown in Massachusetts and New Jersey areas!

Harvest Cranberry Classroom

The Cranberry Classroom experience was perfect for all ages! Located right in Rockefeller Center®, stood a beautifully recreated cranberry bog with a clay bottom and 2000 pounds of cranberries floating on top in brilliant ruby red display. A visual feast!

Harvest Cranberry Classroom

Before our experience, we snacked on delicious cranberry appetizers, like Ladybugs on a Log, turkey wraps with cranberry dipping sauce, and the boys favorites: cranberry popcorn mix, and cranberry cookies! We also got to sample Ocean Spray®’s new water: PACt. With refreshing flavors like Blood Orange and Raspberry!

Harvest Cranberry Classroom Harvest Cranberry Classroom

Wading through the Most Beautiful Harvest of Cranberries!

Harvest Cranberry Classroom Harvest Cranberry Classroom Then a bell rang and school was in session! First class, the Cranberry Bog! The boys and I wiggled into genuine bog waders with big rubber boots and hopped into the cranberry bog. As we waded through undulating red berries, the boys scooped up handfuls, tossed and threw them, and chased each other around the bog, trailing watery wakes. They marveled at harvesting machines and peered at banks of cranberry vines with real berries growing on them.

Here’s a little science for you: What makes cranberries float on the water when they are harvested? Why, it’s the adorable little air pockets inside the fruit! (Which also, would make for wonderful natural cranberry stampers for kids to create holiday projects!).Harvest Cranberry Classroom I chatted with actual cranberry growers and their kids, and learned about the heritage and history of the American cranberry. I loved seeing generations of cranberry growers working together to teach us more about their beloved fruit. And I had to chuckle as one son came up to us and assured us that if his mom was getting any of the facts mixed up, he knew the right answers! What a great sense of humor this family had! Cranberries are one of three native fruits in North America, and this time of year, a favorite for those of us in the United States!

Harvest Cranberry Classroom Harvest Cranberry Classroom

After our bog adventure, we created our own “Bog in a Cup,” a super cute craft that taught kids about the elements that make up a cranberry bog: clay, gravel, peat moss, sand, and cranberry vines! The boys learned why every layer is important for healthy plant growth.

Harvest Cranberry Classroom Another hands on exhibit showed the history of cranberry growing in America, and we heard more about the cranberry harvest. The kids interacted with adorable cranberry magnets that they assisted in putting onto the timeline as they learned about the history of cranberries in America. Did you know cranberries are one of our country’s indigenous fruits!?

Harvest Cranberry Classroom Finally, we ended with a virtual reality tour of a cranberry harvest. Special Google Cardboard 360 glasses allowed us to use phone to view a harvest.

Share this virtual reality cranberry harvest experience with your kids! If you visit, you can watch the beauty and wonder of the cranberry as it travels from bog to bottle! Viewing the fully immersive 360 degree views of a bog during harvest time, well, it’s the next best thing to actually being there (or getting to go to the Cranberry Classroom!).

All in all, my family had an amazing time and a new-found appreciation for the cranberry after this trip to the Ocean Spray® Cranberry Classroom! If you ever have a chance to see it for yourself, you should go. But in the meantime, everyone can watch the virtual reality cranberry harvest, so hop over and take a peek! It’s extremely exciting and very educational for children to see where America’s popular fruit comes from and how it’s grown and harvested!

Harvest Cranberry Classroom

And now… a cranberry recipe for you!

Cream Cheese, Banana, Craisins® Dried Cranberries Roll Up Snack-wich!

Adapted from the Ocean Spray® recipe pages.

cranberry classroomIngredients

  • 1/4 cup cream cheese
  • 2 (8-inch) whole grain flour tortillas
  • 1/4 cup Ocean Spray® Craisins® Original Dried Cranberries, any flavor
  • 1 medium banana, sliced lengthwise into quarters

For each roll-up, spread about 2 tablespoons cream cheese over one tortilla. Sprinkle with 2 tablespoons dried cranberries. Place 2 banana quarters parallel to each other about 1/3 from each edge. Roll up tortilla. Slice in half. Serve immediately.
Makes 2 servings.
I hope you enjoy lots of cranberries this fall! Share with your children where their food comes from, and enjoy the experience of food and food history at every meal!

Thank you to Ocean Spray® for sponsoring this blog post. All opinions are my own.

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