Caroline Gabert, a fifth-grade student from Elk Mound, is the Dunn County winner of the Agriculture in the Classroom essay contest. Wisconsin fourth and fifth graders were asked to write a 100- to 300-word essay with the theme, “Tell us about cranberry production during one of the four seasons in Wisconsin.”
Farm Bureau’s Ag in the Classroom program provides teachers and K-12 students with an understanding of how their food is produced. The program seeks to work within existing curricula to provide basic information on our nation’s largest industry: Agriculture. Wisconsin’s Ag in the Classroom program is carried out by a network of local educators, volunteers and representatives from agricultural organizations and businesses. The goal of the program is to help students gain a greater awareness of the role of agriculture in the economy and society, so that they may become citizens who support wise agricultural policies.
Caroline is the daughter of Erica Gabert. Mrs. Foiles is her fifth-grade teacher at Elk Mound Middle School. Here is Caroline’s winning essay:
“Brr! It’s winter in Wisconsin and the cranberries are safely covered from the cold snow. Cranberries were first commercially harvested in Wisconsin in 1860, and cranberry growing is still going strong. 60% of the nations’ entire supply of cranberries are grown in Wisconsin. So, how are cranberries protected during the winter months?
“In the winter, cranberry vines have to be covered with a layer of water. This eventually freezes over into a layer of ice which protects the cranberry vines. If you don’t, the cranberry vine will die.
“Plant dormancy is when the cranberries are safely under a layer of ice to protect them from the cold and are not sprouting new buds. This also ensures that the cranberry vines don’t “wake up” too early and then die when frost comes. This is why people who harvest and grow cranberries have to watch the weather. Cranberries take 3-5 years for the vines to fully grow and produce berries. Cranberries are also filled with a small pocket of air so they can float.
“There are many ways that this tart, bright red fruit can be eaten. Such as a sauce, in a pie, as craisins, in cookies, as juice and so much more. They can also be used as decorations. Cranberries are most often eaten around the holidays.
“A way for finding and sorting the best cranberries from the bad, rotten cranberries is by using the bounce method. This method was started by a man who dumped his cranberried down the stairs of his barn! Only the ripest cranberries made it all the way down the stairs.
“Cranberries have been harvested and used for medicines, dyes, and much more by the Native Americans living in Wisconsin, and these small tart fruits are still enjoyed by many today.”
More than 170 Dunn County students wrote essays for the competition sponsored by the Wisconsin Farm Bureau Foundation, Insight FS and We Energies.