Our Great Lakes State is well known for its Blueberries. With over 100 million pounds of Blueberries grown last year, Michigan is a perennial leader in Blueberry production. But Blueberry season ends in September, and fall makes way for another berry to take center stage.

This time of year, it is all about Cranberries. Yes please!

Collecting Cranberries

Photo Credits: Zachary Clemetson

To learn more about Michigan Cranberry season, my son and I took a day trip to DeGrandchamp Farms. They were celebrating Cranberry Harvest Day with lots of visitors including people from other countries. My son ran over to the games that were set up on the lawn, while I took in all the delicious smells in the air.

The featured cuisine of the day was a delicious five-course Cranberry themed tasting menu -

Smoked Sausage with Cheddar and Cranberry
Cranberry Wild Rice
Cranberry Jalapeno Cheese Dip
Cranberry Brie and Walnut Pinwheel
Cranberry Swirl Cheesecake

all for just five dollars! (My favorite was the cheesecake.) 

Photo Credits: Zachary Clemetson

Molly Restum, a third generation member of the DeGrandchamp family, was happy to tell me about the farm. DeGrandchamp Farms began in 1958 as a 12-acre Blueberry farm which was expanded in 1994 to start growing Cranberries. They are now a leading producer of Blueberries in the state and are home to over 40 acres of Cranberries. Restum estimates that over 600 people visited the Cranberry bogs on Harvest Day. “It is definitely our busiest day of Cranberry season!”, she said. 

Loading Cranberries to Wash

Photo Credits: Zachary Clemetson

Next, my son and I took a wagon ride out to the bogs and enjoyed the scavenger hunt that was set up along the way. Once there, we saw the flooded bogs and watched as the expert staff corralled huge swaths of Cranberries that rode up the conveyor and into the back of a truck. Once collected, the Cranberries undergo a nine-step process to clean, mill, and package in totes before being shipped out. The operation was clean and efficient. While some of their Cranberries are used locally, most of DeGrandchamp Cranberries are sold to Ocean Spray to make juice and other Cranberry related products. 

Washing Debris from Cranberries

Photo Credits: Zachary Clemetson

Our tour of DeGrandchamp Farms ended with some free samples of juice, lemonade flavored dried Cranberries and a visit to the market and gift shop. There we found a wide variety of Cranberry and Blueberry related products. They sell preserves, sauces, salsas, mustards, salad dressings, t-shirts, and more! Be sure to grab some fresh Cranberries when you visit to use in the DeGrandchamp family favorite Cranberry recipes flier available by the door on your way out. 

Photo Credits: Zachary Clemetson

Some of DeGrandchamp Farms favorite cranberry recipes are here for your enjoyment!

Classic Cranberry Sauce
Ingredients - 1 1/2 cups sugar 3/4 cups water 12 oz. Cranberries (fresh or frozen) Pinch of salt
Recipe - Combine water, sugar, and salt in a medium saucepan. Boil for five minutes. Add Cranberries and cook until the skin pops- about five more minutes. Remove from heat. 
Serve warm or cold. Yields four cups Cranberry Sauce.

Butterscotch Bars
Ingredients - 1 ½ cups unsifted all purpose flour ½ teaspoon salt ¼ teaspoon baking soda ¾ cup butter (room temperature) 1 cup granulated sugar 2 eggs 1 ½ cups Cranberries cut in half ½ cup chopped pecans 2.75 ounces butterscotch chips (one half of a 5.5 ounce bag) 2 T granulated brown sugar

Recipe - Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix flour with salt and baking soda and set aside. Cream butter until light and fluffy. Gradually beat in sugar. Beat in eggs, one at a time. Stir in flour, salt, and baking soda mixture. Fold in Cranberries. Spread mixture into a well greased 13 x 9 x 2 inch pan. Sprinkle with chips, pecans, and brown sugar. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 30 minutes. Top should be lightly browned. Let cool in pan. Cut into squares. 

Yields 24 bars. 

Cranberry Almond Cookies
Ingredients - ½ cup margarine 1 ¼ cup granulated sugar 2 medium eggs ½ teaspoon almond extract 1 ¾ cup all purpose flour 1 teaspoon salt 1 ¾ cup quick oats 1 cup Cranberries (cut in half and tossed in 1 tablespoon sugar) ⅓ cup sliced almonds ⅓ granulated sugar (to roll the dough balls in)
Recipe - Cream margarine, sugar, eggs, and almond extract. Combine flour, baking soda, and salt. Stir into creamed ingredients. Stir in oats. Stir in Cranberries and almonds. Form into walnut sized balls and roll in sugar. Place on lightly greased cookie sheets. Bake at 400 degrees for 8-10 minutes. 
Yields about 40 cookies.

DeGrandchamp Farms is located at 76241 14th Avenue in South Haven, Michigan. They are open Friday through Sunday from 9 am to 5 pm. www.degrandchamps.com