What are the flooded fields in South Haven?

Posted at 5:53 PM, Oct 13, 2016
and last updated 2016-10-13 17:53:07-04

SOUTH HAVEN, Mich. -- South Haven is known for its hundred of acres of blueberries, but tucked away on a few farms are colorful cranberry bogs.

Harvest just started at DeGrandchamp farms, and it's a scene that may look familiar if you've seen any recent Ocean Spray ad.

Ocean Spray Farmers

In those commercials the two farmers are standing in about 60,000 tons of fresh cranberries, but the farms don't look like that all the time.

Farmer Bob DeGrandchamp, explains, "That's a big myth, you see the commercials and you think yeah they're growing in water. But no they're not, they actually look just like your lawn throughout the year."

Farmers purposely flood the fields so the berries will float up to the top, a process that makes harvesting easy, he says "The beauty of it is, is it's not very labor intense."

Two laborers can push 60,000 tons of cranberries in about three hours. But harvest at DeGrandchamp's is going to take a little longer than usual this year.

Like the fall colors, cranberries are behind on changing color too.

DeGrandchamp says, "If you look at the statistics on our temperatures, all of September was 4-5 degrees above average and this month I think we are going to be in the same neighborhood. So it's posing a little bit of trouble for getting color on the cranberries, crop is there, we're just waiting on it."DeGrandchamps

But while he's waiting, Degrandchamp is enjoying the view.

"The sights, you've got the fall colors, the water and then the color in the cranberries, it's pretty stunning."

DeGrandchamp farms is hosting "Cranberry Harvest Day" on the farm Saturday Oct. 15 from 10 to 4. Tickets for adults are $7 and children 12 and under are $3. Admission includes a hay ride to the cranberry bogs where you can watch them harvest a "sea" or red, ripe cranberries.

Bob DeGrandchamp shared his favorite fresh cranberry recipe.

The DeGrandchamp Family Favorite Cranberry Almond Cookies

  • 1/2 cup margarine
  • 1 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 tsp almond extract
  • 1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 3/4 cups quick oats
  • 1 cup halved cranberries (tossed in 1 Tbs sugar)
  • 1/3 cup sliced natural almonds
  • 1/3 cup sugar (to roll balls of dough)


Cream margarine, sugar, eggs and almond extract. Combine flour, baking soda and salt. Stir into creamed ingredients. Stir in oats. Stir in cranberries and almonds. Form into walnut sized balls, roll in sugar. Place on lightly greased cookie sheets. Bat at 400 degrees for 8 - 10 minutes.