Visiting a Cranberry Marsh in Wisconsin on the weekend

Visiting a Cranberry Marsh in Wisconsin

Warrens, WI, is the cranberry capital of Wisconsin. Do you know a lot about cranberries? I didn’t…in fact, I’d never really paid much attention outside of Ocean Spray commercials and the occasional time my mom would buy cranberry juice or dried cranberries. AND, I’d never heard of Warrens, WI, despite living in Wisconsin my whole life.

Warrens, WI is a small village with a population of under 500 people. It’s located just north of Tomah and just south of Black River Falls on highway 1-94. So, not surprising, I’d not heard of the village in my first 18 years. However, when I started dating my now husband, I learned that his family has a place in Warrens, and cranberries are a BIG DEAL there. Like really big. Like everywhere you drive there are cranberry bogs and more cranberry marshes and not much else, but wait, more cranberry fields.

And I learned nearly 20 years ago now, that not only is Warrens the cranberry capital of Wisconsin, but they also host an annual festival called Cranfest. And as my husband and I moved on from dating and were married, I joined in on his family’s tradition to go to Cranfest every September. Usually, this involves attending the huge arts and crafts fair, taking in cranberry-everything, and trying the local eats.

“Home of the world’s largest cranberry festival, Warrens hosts more than 120,000 visitors each September to experience three amazing days of shopping, food and fun.”

VisitWarrens.com

Fast forward to 2020 and the giant festival was not surprisingly cancelled due to COVID-19. My mother-in-law, of all her years of spending time in Warrens had not actually been on a cranberry bog marsh tour. With the festival cancelled, my family still had plans to attend and stay at their house – and now we are excited to try out a marsh tour. 

This self-guided tour hosted by Weatherby Cranberry Company was amazing. It was a self-guided tour, so as not to draw crowds to a speaker at any one location on the premises. The outside tour had us walk around a bog, passing by equipment that was displayed. There was a sheet of paper explaining the equipment, handed out at the check-in table. 

The real fun of the tour came in when we got to go IN the bog. For an additional fee, we put on waders and walked right down into the bog where the cranberries were floating on the surface of the water. My children were in heaven. {I was thoroughly enjoying it as well.} They were swirling the berries, tossing them in the air, and wading through the water.  It was a unique experience, and I felt like I was in an Ocean Spray commercial. Ha! We could stay in the bog as long as we’d liked. We stayed in for about 30 minutes. 

Visiting a Cranberry Marsh in Wisconsin

Visiting a Cranberry Marsh in Wisconsin

Visiting a Cranberry Marsh in Wisconsin

After we climbed out of the bog, the next field over was harvesting the cranberries. So, we got a first hand look at how the farmers corral the berries, suck them up into the machine, sort them from the leaves/plant, and shoot them into the truck to be hauled away. 

Lastly, before we left we stopped at their outdoor store to take some berries, dried berries, and cranberry wine home. 

Visiting a Cranberry Marsh in Wisconsin on the weekend
Cranberry farmer harvesting cranberries in Warrens, WIsconsin.

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