Cranberry Country Comes to Midtown

Take 16,000 square feet, 2000 pounds of cranberries, twenty laborers, twelve hours of working, and throw them all together. Shake well. The result? OceanSpray’s seventh annual cranberry bog in Rockefeller Plaza.

Each year OceanSpray teams up with marketing companies Arnold Worldwide and Webber Shanwick to set up cranberry bogs across the country. The even began in Manhattan seven years ago and has since spread to Los Angeles, Chicago, and Boston.

“It’s a stunning harvest that stops you in your tracks,” said Cindy Taccini, spokeswoman for OceanSpray. “Some people aren’t as lucky to live in cranberry country, so we bring the bog to them.”

Cranberries are harvested mainly in the Northeast and Northwest of the United States. OceanSpray is a cooperative of seven hundred cranberry farmers with headquarters in Lakeville, Massachusetts. To convey the organization’s New England roots, Arnold Worldwide brought in antique farming equipment and several decorative plants indigenous to the northeastern US.

“We really wanted the whole setup to feel in harmony and for the cranberry environment to come across 360 degrees,” said John Raftery, director of brand experience at Arnold Worldwide.

The two-day event included several activities, including a raffle with a prize of eating in a pop-up restaurant erected in the bog. Hundreds of contestants entered for the twenty-five spots in the bog.

Some controversy erupted when the event organizers changed the raffle rules last minute. They dropped the requirement that raffle ticket holders had to be present when their named was called, giving groups a chance to phone their friends and invite them back to a spot in the pop-up restaurant.

“I really don’t think it’s fair because I’ve been waiting since 11 AM, and some of these people are just showing up and winning,” said Alberta Duperval, a home health aide in Manhattan.

The atmosphere was joyful overall, with raffle winners putting on their waders and standing in the bog with cranberries up to their knees, eating Asian fusion dishes by celebrity chef Ming Tsai. The food and non-alcoholic drinks served all contained cranberries in some way.

OceanSpray declined to reveal the cost of the bog’s set-up, with spokeswoman Taccini insisting the price tag was not important. “It’s worth it to us enough that we are showcasing this for the seventh time here in Rockefeller Plaza.”