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Tuesday
Oct132009

Ocean Spray's Big Apple Bog, 80th Anniversary & Ultimate Cranberry Contest (recipe) winners!

Click *here* to see all of the pictures from this event

To me, nothing says “Fall” quite like crisp East Coast mornings, Starbuck’s Pumpkin Lattes, and cranberries.  Yes, I said cranberries.  So you can imagine my excitement when I was invited to Ocean Spray’s “Big Apple Bog,” which was organized to celebrate the company’s 80th anniversary (harvesting cranberries as a grower-owned co-op).  I had no idea just how much this event had in store…

 What in the world is a “bog?” 
A bog is a wetland/marsh that accumulates acidic peat (deposits of dead plant material).  Cranberries are harvested in bogs.

Gotcha.  So then what in the world is the “Big Apple Bog?”
In honor of Ocean Spray’s 80th anniversary, the company decided to share their milestone birthday, and the cranberry harvest, with the folks of NYC.  A simulated bog was depicted at Rockefeller Center, using 2000 pounds of the fresh berry.  For three full days, the public passersby could stop by the bog and learn more about the cranberry harvest, innovative farming techniques, and delicious recipes…all courtesy of third, fourth and fifth generation growers!

Did you get to see the bog in Rockefeller Center?
No, unfortunately I did not get to see that bog.

What?  Now I’m confused.  So then what bog did you see?
I was invited to attend the finale for Ocean Spray’s 2009 Ultimate Cranberry Contest, held at Rockefeller Center’s luxe event space, “620 Loft and Garden.”  A smaller simulated bog was gorgeously displayed in the garden’s reflecting pool.
 

Great Performances,” one of NYC’s best, catered the event.  Beverages were infused with Ocean Spray products, and the passed hors d’oeuvres were mini versions of the contest finalists’ winning recipes.  Four of the eight contestants represented the foodservice/commercial division, while the other four were from the consumer end of the spectrum.  

Who better to make a birthday cake for Ocean Spray’s 80th than the Food Network’s “Ace of Cakes,” himself?  Ocean Spray took Duff Goldman, of Charm City Cakes (in Maryland), and some of his team to a bog in New Jersey, where they learned the process of the cranberry harvest first-hand.  From their bogging adventure, a cake (vanilla layered with homemade cranberry-sauce filling, buttercream and fondant) depicting their day was born.  

 

Food Network Chef, Tyler Florence, along with those two funny fellows from the Ocean Spray commercials, announced the $25,000 recipe contest winners in each division.
  • Consumer: Patrice Hurd took home the first place bragging rights…and a $25,000 check…for her Cranberry-Bacon Scones.
  • Food service/commercial: Chris Wright stole the show…and made out like a $25,000-richer bandit…with his Crab & Cranberry Rangoon’s.
As if the cake didn’t satisfy my sweet tooth enough, upon leaving the event, I was handed a goodie-bag.  Among a press kit and some informational fliers, I saw a plastic baggie containing two cookies.  “I’ll just take one bite,” I said to myself.  Bah!  One bite turned in to two, two bites turned in to four…and before long, I had devoured both cookies.  To end on a sweet note, I thought I’d share Ocean Spray’s outrageously delicious “Oatmeal Cranberry White Chocolate Chunk Cookies” recipe. 
Enjoy and Happy Fall to you and yours!
Recipe courtesy of Ocean Spray: Oatmeal Cranberry White Chocolate Chunk Cookies
Ingredients (recipe makes 2.5 dozen cookies)
  • 2/3 cup butter or margarine, softened
  • 1 ½ cups old-fashioned oats
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2/3 cup white chocolate chunks or chips
  • 1 6-ounce package Ocean Spray Craisins Original Dried Cranberries
  • 2/3 cup brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 ½ cups flour
  • ½ teaspoon salt
Directions:
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.  Using an electric mixer, beat butter (or margarine) and sugar together in a medium mixing bowl until light and fluffy.  Add eggs, mixing well.  Combine oats, flour, baking soda and salt in a separate mixing bowl.  Add to butter mixture in several additions, mixing well after each addition.  Stir in dried cranberries and white chocolate chunks.  Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheets.  Bake 10-12 minutes or until golden brown.  Cool on wire rack.

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