Cranberry Walnut Pie that is so simple, it takes no time to put together and everyone will love this dessert. Serve with ice cream or whipped cream. And our trip to New York City to visit the Ocean Spray® Cranberry Classroom.
I have partnered with Ocean Spray® for its NYC Cranberry Classroom. They paid me to attend this event and provided travel arrangements. I love partnering with companies I believe in and share the same values, and in turn, sharing them here with you. All opinions are 100% my own. You can search the hashtag #CranberryClassroom to see and learn more about the harvest.
On Thursday, Clay and I got on the train and headed to New York City to visit the Ocean Spray® Cranberry Classroom. We were invited to come and learn about how cranberries are grown and harvested. Right in the heart of Manhatten! Living on Cape Cod, we are surrounded by cranberry bogs. But in truth, we knew very little about how they were grown or cultivated.
To celebrate the first day of fall, Ocean Spray® built a Cranberry Classroom in New York City’s Rockefeller Center® to teach us about the cranberry, from the inside out. 2016 marks the bicentennial of the first cultivated cranberry harvest, which is kind a big deal! It was a great afternoon and everyone – adults and children – learned a lot and had a great time.
It was Clay’s first time to NYC and I made a little video about our trip. You can see the bog in action.
The Cranberry Classroom consisted of four stations – a visit to the bog, building a bog in a cup, cranberry history, and a virtual reality tour of a bog.
First up for our group was into the bog. Which also meant into the waders. Clay rocks some waders, doesn’t he? He really wanted to keep them so he could explore the pond in our backyard without getting wet. (I know what is going on his Christmas list.)
Everyone climbed into the bog and we learned that cranberries grow on long vines in marshy, wetland areas. The berries don’t actually grow in water, but when it is time to harvest the berries, farmers flood their bogs and the berries float to the top. They can do this because the berries have four air chambers inside that allow them to float.
The berries are skimmed from the top of the water and are collected, cleaned and sorted. The berries are then used fresh or are made into juice, sauces, Craisins® dried cranberries, and many other products.
At the event, there were cranberry growers to teach us about how cranberries are grown and what life as a grower is like. Spoiler – it’s a labor of love. Iain Ward from Lakeville, MA is a first generation cranberry grower. He taught the kids how to make a bog in a cup.
They layered clay, gravel, peat, and sand in a plastic cup. Then they put cranberry vines in it.
It might take a few years to see a berry, but if taken care of, this homemade bog will grow into a cranberry vine.
We met some other growers as well. Behind Clay is Stephen Lee IV, of Tabernacle, NJ. He taught us about the harvest and showed us the tools they use to collect the berries from the bog.
Our next stop was to learn some cranberry history. Did you know that the cranberry gets its name from Dutch and German settlers? When cranberries bloom in late spring, the flowers look like the head and bill of a crane. Crane-berries turned into cranberries. Also, I did not know that the cranberry is one of three fruits native to North America. Do you know what the other two are? Blueberries and Concord grapes.
The last stop was a virtual reality tour of a cranberry harvest. (You can watch it yourself here. You can have the 360° experience at home.) It is so beautiful, and at points you feel like you are right in the middle of it. It rightly is called “The Most Beautiful Harvest.” A sea of gorgeous red berries. If you can’t get to a bog, it is the next best thing. The Most Beautiful Harvest experience was designed to celebrate the beauty of the cranberry harvest – showcasing the fruit’s journey from bog to bottle.
Clay and I thoroughly enjoyed ourselves at the event. We learned a lot, ate some cranberry snacks, and had an experience we will not forget. Thank you to Ocean Spray® for inviting us and teaching us about one of our favorite fruits. (We love cranberries at our house.) We loved this event so much, we are going to bring the rest of our family to watch our local cranberry harvest.
I love to cook and bake with cranberries, and picked up 4 bags of fresh cranberries at the store yesterday. I was so happy to see them in the grocery store. You know what that means, right? Thanksgiving is coming! (I keep a few bags in my freezer at all times, they last at least a year.)
My grandmother shared this recipe with me years ago, and it is a fall favorite. Cranberry Walnut Pie is so easy to make, and while it’s called a pie, it is more like a cake. But who am I to argue with my grandmother?
Thank you to Ocean Spray for sponsoring this blog post. All opinions are my own.