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WCDC Purchases Historic “Union Cranberry Company” Warehouse Building

Wisconsin Cranberry Museum Artifacts

The Wisconsin Cranberry Discovery Center officially announced last week that it has purchased the building that currently houses the Center from the Warrens Cranberry Festival.  The WCDC has been located in the building at 204 Main Street since 2004, but had been renting from the Warrens Cranberry Festival until the purchase was made official at the beginning of June.

WCDC Director Barbara Hendricks says that the purchase is the next exciting step in the Discovery Center’s growth.  “We’re so thrilled about this opportunity to continue to further our mission of educating the public about Wisconsin’s number one fruit crop, the cranberry.  Having the chance to continue doing so in this historic building in downtown Warrens is really fabulous.”  Hendricks went on to say, “Guests from all over the world stop in to visit the Center, offering us the opportunity to educate them about historical and present-day Wisconsin cranberry production practices.  We communicate the health benefits and versatility of the fruit as well as how the industry is preserving the multigenerational heritage and history of cranberry farming.”

The WCDC building was originally constructed in 1900 from locally quarried sandstone and operated as a warehouse for the “Union Cranberry Company.”  After renovations in 2004, the century-old building now houses a 4800 sq. ft. hands-on exhibit hall, a cranberry ice cream parlor and bakery and a Wisconsin cranberry gift shop that boasts over 200 items made with Wisconsin cranberries.  If you’re not able to stop in to shop, the WCDC also has an online store at www.thecranberrystore.com.  Over 20,000 people visited the WCDC last year; many of them tour groups of children from schools that, many times, choose to come as a part of their school’s agriculture curriculums.

The Center operates as a non-profit organization and relies heavily on donations to continue to grow their mission and on volunteers for staffing its tours, ice cream counter and its gift shop.  “We’re always looking for new volunteers to add to our WCDC family.  We also love adding new members to our donor program, “Friends of the Discovery Center,” especially now as we move forward in the next phase of our journey to educate the public.  People who are passionate about our education and outreach programs have been and will continue to be a major part of who we are.”

Summer Adventure Starts Here!

Family Fun in our Exhibit Hall

Looking for family-friendly adventures for you and yours this summer? Look no further than the Wisconsin Cranberry Discovery Center! Stop in and see us anytime during our hours of operation for fun for the whole family.

With the museum and its interactive exhibits, cranberry bakery items, cranberry ice cream and the gift shop, there’s plenty for everyone to enjoy. Put a stop at the WCDC on your summer adventure “bucket list” today!


Cranberry Harvest Day 2011

Cranberry Queen and Princesses at Harvest Day 2011The official kick-off to the cranberry harvesting season was celebrated on Saturday, October 1st. People who participated in the all-day event were able to take a tour of a local cranberry marsh in the morning in order to see the ripe berries up close. A special treat for tour participants included demonstrations of the traditional hand raking method of harvesting which was used exclusively until more modern, machine-driven harvesting methods were developed.

After seeing the berries in their natural element, many visitors came to the Wisconsin Cranberry Discovery Center to continue the festivities. With the 2011 Cranberry Queen and Princesses on-site, guests enjoyed our cranberry museum, where they learned all about the history of cranberries, and were treated to free samples of gourmet cranberry foods and wines. Families were able to create some cranberry crafts together and then children and adults alike treated themselves to one (or more!) of our famous cranberry bakery and ice cream shop treats.

Many of our Harvest Day guests also took advantage of our fabulous cranberry gift shop in order to get a head-start on their holiday shopping. After sampling the gourmet cranberry items we have to offer, no one wanted to walk out of the gift shop empty-handed! Hot holiday-gift-basket-ready items included our cranberry wines and salsas and our line of cranberry soaps and oils.

If you didn’t make it to this year’s Harvest Day, don’t worry – we’ll do it again next year and you can see some pictures of the event on our Facebook page. In the meantime, you can stop in for a visit seven days a week between 9 am – 5 pm and you can shop our online store 24/7!

Ribbon Cutting Held for Enhanced “Frost Watch and Irrigation” Exhibit

NRCS State Conservationist Pat Murphy, WSCGA President Mike Moss, DATCP Secretary Ben Brancel and CMI President Vicky Nemitz

The Wisconsin Cranberry Discovery Center held a special ribbon cutting ceremony for their enhanced “Frost Watch and Irrigation” exhibit located in the Center’s Cranberry Museum. The exhibit features the special equipment necessary to protect Wisconsin’s cranberry crop from its natural enemy, frost, and information about how the irrigation systems used by growers work in unison to ensure productive growing seasons while at the same time using natural resources wisely.

Several special guests and distinguished ribbon cutters attended the ceremony, including Secretary Ben Brancel of the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP), State Conservationist Pat Murphy of the National Resource Conservation Service (NRCS), President of the Wisconsin State Cranberry Grower’s Association (WSCGA) Mike Moss and President of the Cranberry Museum, Inc. (CMI), Vicky Nemitz.

“This exhibit will help the Wisconsin Cranberry Discovery Center further its mission of educating visitors about Wisconsin’s number one fruit crop, the cranberry,” said WCDC Executive Director Barbara Hendricks. “It also highlights how cranberry growers in Wisconsin are leading the way in responsible resource management, showing the public how they work with state agencies and university researchers to ensure they’re using science-based best practices to produce cranberries in the most efficient, responsible way possible.”

Donations from several families and organizations made this exhibit possible. Robert, Vicki, Amy and Adam Nemitz in memory of Junior and Alice Nemitz, DATCP, NRCS, the Hatch family of Cranberry Creek Cranberry, Paul Roberts of Roberts Irrigation, WSCGA, Gary and Rhonda Jensen of Jensen Cranberry Bogs, Inc., Stuart, Faye and Kim Pedersen, the Tomah Convention and Visitors Bureau, Bob Williams and Jayne Sojka of Lady Bug IPM all made generous donations to help further educate WCDC visitors through the addition of this exhibit.

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