Thank you to Ocean Spray for sponsoring this post. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that make Sincerely, Lauren possible.

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You know I’ve mentioned my love of fall before and it’s finally here! Last Thursday we kicked off the first day of fall in the most appropriate way possible, at the Ocean Spray® cranberry bog of course.

The Ocean Spray® cranberry bog was back in Rockefeller Center® to kick off the first day of fall in celebration of America’s favorite fruit! This year marks the bicentennial of the first cultivated cranberry harvest and we were there to to learn about the cranberry’s amazing story of taste, health and heritage in the best way possible; knee deep in an actual cranberry bog.

We eat a lot of cranberries in our house. Most of the time it’s dried and in trail mix, but we do eat it a lot during the fall and winter in baked goods and casseroles. While we are used to buying them raw in a bag or dried and ready to eat, we’ve never really put much thought to all that’s involved in making the delicious fruit.

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So we put on our overalls and jumped right in the bog with multi-generational Ocean Spray® cranberry growers and their families who spoke with us about how they harvest the cranberries and how the process has changed over the last 200 years. scooping-cranberriesimg_0091-2

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Fun Fact: While we’re so used to seeing the cranberries float in water (we see it on the Ocean Spray commericals all the time,) it wasn’t until this event that I learned that’s not the case at all. Cranberries actually grow on a vine and the night before harvesting, the farmers fill the bog up with water and then use a machine to loosen the cranberries off of the vine and they float to the top. Then the farmers load them up on trucks and many become juices, dried fruit, and more!

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The kids are always into doing hands on activities and not only did they learn the history of harvesting cranberries, but they had the chance to make their very own cranberry bog. They filled up a cup with clay, rocks, soil, and sand before sticking in their cranberry vine. We now have the plants right outside of our house waiting for them to go through winter before we transplant them from the cup. The kids and I are crossing our fingers for at least one cranberry next fall.

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And because technology is so incredible the kids were able to take a virtual tour though a cranberry bog. Ocean Spray launched the “Most Beautiful Harvest” experience in 2015 using Oculus Rift technology. (You can watch it here) It was so funny to see the kids look up and down and all around so that they could make sure to capture all 360 degrees of the experience.

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And what’s a day in the Cranberry Classroom without snacking on a delicious cranberry treat! Ocean Spray provided us with some delicious (nut-free) snacks. The kids munched on snack sized dried craberry packets and a cranberry trail mix with dried cranberries, popcorn, and chocolate!

Here’s the recipe for Cranberry Trail Mix for those that want the perfect fall snack.

What You’ll Need:

  • Ocean Spray® Craisins® Dried Cranberries
  • Dark Chocolate Chips
  • Kettle Cooked Popcorn

What to do:

Mix incredients and enjoy!

For those of you that want a delicious casserole for your holiday dinner, here’s my mom’s Cranberry Bake that she makes every single year. There are never any leftovers because it’s that good.

What you’ll need:

For the bake:

  • 2 cups Ocean Spray® Fresh Cranberries
  • 2 cups apples diced
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 2 tbl corn starch
  • ½ cup cognac

For the topping:

  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2/3 cup oatmeal
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 1 stick plus 2 TBL cold butter(cut into small pieces)

What to do:

  1. Soak ingredients for bake overnight
  2. Bake at 350 covered for 40 minutes
  3. Uncover and bake for additional 10 minutes

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