A road trip to the Vilas Cranberry Company

MANITOWISH WATERS, Wis. - There's 182 acres of cranberries being grown at Vilas Cranberry Company in Manitowish Waters, about 140 miles away from NBC26. 

Vilas Cranberry Company celebrates Wisconsin's state fruit, and one of the three native fruits of the United States.

"Wisconsin is one of the leading cranberry producing states in the whole entire world, so it's pretty unique to our state and for us to be able to have this right here in our own backyard in Manitowish Waters," said Sarah Pischer, Executive Director at Manitowish Waters Chamber.

Anyone is invited to see the beauty and processes behind the crop with the company's co-owner and operating manager, Bob Winter.

"I think I worked my first cranberry harvest in 1972, and then I was gone for a while, and then I came back and moved back here full time in 1980. So we're going on 40 years," said Winter.

Winter added it takes a year-long work cycle for the farm to harvest nearly 5 million pounds of cranberries.

He said there are only about seven or eight growers in this area, but it is a big contributor to the state economy and tourism. He said this is the busiest time of the year.

"The growing season is May, you know, May through October is pretty...7 days a week," said Winter.

He said September is a special month.

"By late September, they'll be a dark red color, and we'll be starting our harvest," said Winter.

They have tours every Friday at 10 a.m. from July to October.

"They get to walk around, see everything first hand, and see where those berries are at during the growing season," said Pischer.

Pischer added harvest is a great time to be there.                                                                               

"You see those bright berries just floating and then seeing them come up into the summit. It's pretty neat to be able to experience first hand," said Pischer.                                                                         

We can't forget the tradition of serving cranberries with thanksgiving turkey and over the holidays. You can get fresh cranberries at the farms gift store from mid-September to mid-October.

For more information on tours, visit their website: https://cranberrysquaremarket.com/cranberry-tours/ 

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