To early European immigrants, the delicate pink blossoms of cranberry vines resembled the heads of cranes, so they called the tart, red fruits "crane berries." Over time, the name was shortened to "cranberry."
"During Cranberry Blossom Day, you can see for yourself if cranberry blossoms really look like a crane's head," says Barb Hendricks of the Wisconsin Cranberry Discovery Center.
The Saturday, June 27, event is co-sponsored by the Wisconsin Cranberry Discovery Center and Wetherby Cranberry Company, a Warrens-area cranberry marsh.
The Wetherby marsh will be open for free tours from 9 a.m. to noon, offering visitors an up-close look at cranberry vines in bloom. Third-generation cranberry grower Nodji Van Wychen will be on hand to answer questions about her family's cranberry operation.
New this year, 2009 Wisconsin Honey Queen Amy Roden will be presenting a program on honey bees at the Wetherby marsh in the morning and a cooking demonstration at the Cranberry Discovery Center in the afternoon.
After touring the marsh, visitors can learn more about Wisconsin's No.1 fruit crop at the Cranberry Discovery Center. Housed in a historic cranberry warehouse in downtown Warrens, the nonprofit Center is dedicated to educating the public about the state's cranberry growing heritage.
As part of the festivities, the Warrens Lion Club will be serving a cranberry brat lunch from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Cranberry Discovery Center. Cranberry cream puffs and other cranberry treats will be available from the center's Taste-Test Kitchen.
Cranberry wine tasting and gourmet cranberry food sampling will also be offered at the center from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Diana Hobson of DnA Vintners, La Crosse, will be the featured winemaker.
Children's activities – including a scavenger hunt, temporary cranberry tattoos and more – are also planned at the Cranberry Discovery Center.
There is no fee to tour the Wetherby marsh. There is also no fee charged to visit the upper level of the Cranberry Discovery Center. Tours of the center's lower level exhibit hall – which features video and audio recordings, storyboards and interactive displays – will be available for a special rate of $2 per person on June 27.
The Wetherby marsh is 4.5 miles east of Warrens on county Highway EW. The Cranberry Discovery Center is located at 204 Main Street in downtown Warrens.
For more information, visit the Wisconsin Cranberry Discovery Center's Web site at www.discovercranberries.com or call (608) 378-4878.