A beautiful eyeful of red at Lake Nokomis Cranberries, Inc.

The wonderful, healthful — cranberry! No matter how you love to enjoy them, this native Wisconsin crop provides 60% of the nations’ cranberry supply and has led the country in cranberry production for the last 10 years.

According to the Wisconsin State Cranberry Growers Association, not only does this low calorie fruit work to improve urinary tract health and help to prevent gum disease, it is also very high in antioxidants that are important in preventing cancer and protect against heart disease.

Other benefits include prevention of ulcers linked to stomach cancer and acid reflux disease. It also contains antibacterial properties.

Here in northern Wisconsin, we have several local growers and in Oneida County there is Lake Nokomis Cranberries farm owned by Dave Zawistowski. Originally, Dave started as a worker at the farm in 1973 but then purchased the 50 acre farm in 1977. At that time he renamed it Lake Nokomis Cranberries.

Today, the farm encompasses 300 acres and features free marsh tours during harvest and a year round gift shop stocked with tons of cranberry products, cranberry—inspired products and cranberry wines, including wine made from the Lake Nokomis Cranberries.

The tour, led by tour guide and five-year Lake Nokomis employee, Jerry, takes visitors into the field where he gives a detailed history of the cranberry, formerly known as the craneberry. He then describes what goes into planting and the harvesting of this sweet/tart fruit.

As the tour progresses, participants get to see cranberries in the flooded fields being gathered by a boom and then sucked up by a huge vacuum-driven machine and loaded into tractor-drawn carts.

If you are fortunate enough, you will see tractors in the cranberry tracts beating and combing the fruit off the vines. The floating fruit is then gathered by the boom, loaded and hauled away.

After a final wash back at the farm, the fruit is loaded into semis and taken to the central processing cranberry plant in Babcock, Wis. The fruit is delivered to Babcock within two hours of harvest.

This year harvest began on Monday, Sept. 21 and is expected to last three to four weeks. The farm is located just to the south of North Nokomis Lake on Highway D between Highway O, Eagle River, and Highway E towards Lake Tomahawk.

Tours are free and leave the farm at 11AM, 1PM and 3PM Monday through Friday and on Saturday at 11AM and 1PM. After the tour, be sure to leave time to visit the delightful Wine and Gift Shop. Fresh cranberries are on sale beginning at $1.00 a pound. Buy plenty — they freeze extremely well!

The Wine and Gift Shop is open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. and on Saturdays and Sundays from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. during the harvest season only. See their website for other times throughout the year. Try some great products — craisins, chocolate covered craisins, gourmet food items, beauty products, jams, candles, dish and glassware and lots more!

To learn more about this delightful farm, visit their website at or call (715) 479-6546.

 

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