Even if the only cranberries you’d ever eaten came from a can-shaped slice of sauce, you’d still know a cranberry bog if you saw one. Discover the Cranberry, a bog set up at the entrance to the World Showcase during the EPCOT International Food and Wine Festival, is roughly the size of a swimming pool but packs a visual wallop even at 100 paces. The cranberry bush, however, casts a more humble profile. In fact, it wasn’t until Todd May (above, in waders), a cranberry grower from Massachusetts, pointed out the bushes surrounding the bog that I even noticed the cranberries on them.
Contrary to what many people think, cranberries don’t grow in a bog. They grow on bushes, and can actually be “dry harvested” to sell fresh. The majority of cranberries, which are turned into juice, Craisins, or even the iconic canned sauce, are “wet harvested.” The cranberry itself contains tiny air pockets — bite one in half and you’ll see — which allow it to float. Come harvest time, growers flood the bog and all those beautiful berries come floating to the surface. Pretty nifty, right?
Another fun tidbit: cranberries are one of only three commercially-cultivated fruits that are native to the United States. (The others are blueberries and Concord grapes.)
Whether you’re native to cranberry country or to the Sunshine State, you can eat like a Floridian at the Florida Local marketplace, one of over 25 marketplaces set up to showcase food and beverages from around the world. The menu features Florida shrimp ceviche, a Florida grass-fed beef slider, wines made from Florida citrus and craft beer from Orlando Brewing and Tampa’s Cigar City Brewing.
The EPCOT International Food and Wine Festival runs through November 11. Valid park admission is required, and tickets for special events, experiences and culinary demonstrations can be purchased online.