The DeGrandchamp family has been producing berries near the shores of Lake Michigan since 1955. Mike DeGrandchamp treated the VALOR fellows (and a couple from Texas who happened to stop by the farm at just the right time) to a tour of their operation during our recent trip to Michigan. DeGrandchamp Farms blueberry fields and cranberry beds take advantage of the combination of prevailing winds from the lake, soil type and condition, and climate in general to produce quality berries for fresh and processed markets.
Did you know cranberries…
- grow on a vine that can produce for over 100 years?
- are dry harvested by hand for fresh markets?
- are grown in laser-leveled fields which are only flooded for mechanical harvest for further processing?
- have four chambers (that’s why they float!)?
Or that blueberries…
- grow on bushes that can produce for over 70 years?
- are harvested by hand for fresh markets?
- are harvested by a mechanical harvester (for further-processed berries) that replaces 150 workers?
And did you know that cranberries and blueberries have the same amount of sugar and are from the same plant family? It was impressive to see cranberry production firsthand and see blueberry production on such a large scale. Thanks to Mike and the rest of the DeGrandchamp family for opening their doors and fields to the VALOR fellows.