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Kevin Fischer is a veteran broadcaster, the recipient of over 150 major journalism awards from the Milwaukee Press Club, the Wisconsin Associated Press, the Northwest Broadcast News Association, the Wisconsin Bar Association, and others. He has been seen and heard on Milwaukee TV and radio stations for over three decades. A longtime aide to state Senate Republicans in the Wisconsin Legislature, Kevin can be seen offering his views on the news on the public affairs program, "InterCHANGE," on Milwaukee Public Television Channel 10, and heard filling in on Newstalk 1130 WISN. He lives with his wife, Jennifer, and their lovely young daughter, Kyla Audrey, in Franklin.

Culinary no-no #389

Culinary no-no's

Back in May, the NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center forecast a cooler than average summer across the Midwest including the Milwaukee area.

Their prediction was pretty much on the mark.

A jacket-wearing Linda Reince-Vitale serves pancakes on Monday at Red Arrow Park during Downtown Employee Appreciation Week. Temperatures are still below the city’s average for the summer.

A jacket-wearing Linda Reince-Vitale served pancakes on July 28, 2014, at Red Arrow Park during Downtown Employee Appreciation Week in Milwaukee. Temperatures were still below the city’s average for the summer. Photo: jsonline, Alyssa Pointer

During July, several parts of Wisconsin were hit by hailstorms.

Cranberries are big business in Wisconsin. Very big.

According to the WI State Cranberry Growers Association, “Wisconsin is the number one cranberry producer in the nation for the 19th consecutive year. Cranberries are Wisconsin’s largest fruit crop, accounting for almost 85 percent of the total value of fruit production in the state, contribute nearly $300 million annually to the state’s economy and support approximately 3,400 jobs.”

However, the two weather conditions mentioned above will, according to the USDA, make for a lower cranberry harvest this year. Also affecting the yield: smaller berries.

It’s not just Wisconsin. Massachusetts, another major producer of cranberries is hurting, albeit in the opposite way. They’ve got too many cranberries, a surplus that has brought prices down. The situation has led farmers to stop using land for growing cranberries and selling it to developers, as the Wall Street Journal reports, for three times the value.

“…farmers usually buy more land than needed for growing cranberries…this excess real estate has been a natural source of income for these eastern Massachusetts farmers, many of whom have taken on second jobs as cranberries have become increasingly difficult to make a living on.”

So cranberry farmers in Massachusetts have found the need to get into the real estate business to essentially survive.

Back in Wisconsin, the crummy weather has taken its toll. Our cranberry yield isn’t supposed to be as large as last year’s.

The idea then obviously is to eat more cranberries.

And why not.

Wouldn’t it be great if WI companies/businesses would help out the cranberry industry?

Remember when Chris Culver pushed and promoted his pork sandwiches when the pork producers were having a tough time? How about Culver's and others coming up with cranberry flavored treats?

Ditto for juices, cranberry pancakes, waffles, sauces, body and bath products, etc.

As I wrote in Culinary no-no #31 in December of 2007:

Did you eat cranberries on Thanksgiving this year?

Odds are you did.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture reports, “88 percent of Americans include cranberries in their Thanksgiving celebrations every year.”

Will you wait until next November to eat cranberries?

You really shouldn’t.

Cranberry juice is the most common form purchased at the grocery store (61 percent of cranberry product purchases). Cranberry juice drinkers are also the most frequent cranberry consumers overall. Most do not mix the juice with other beverage products, preferring to drink the juice by itself.

Turning to other cranberry products such as sweetened dried cranberries, cranberry sauce and fresh or frozen whole cranberries, consumers report a variety of recipe-oriented uses.

In order, here are the ways consumers use the cranberries they purchase:

Eat by themselves as a snack

Turn into relish/spread

Add to breads or muffins

Add to salads

Add to drinks

Add to cereal

Add to pies or tarts

Add to granola or other mixes

Consumers who eat cranberries throughout the year are doing themselves a huge favor.

Cranberries are considered to be the very best of the super-foods with numerous health benefits.

So, don’t wait another year to eat cranberries. That would be a culinary no-no.


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