Women in Food: 10 Questions with Cranberry Grower Fawn Gottschalk

It's harvest season for so many things in the food world right now! And one of those things is cranberries. Go check it out on the Cranberry Marketing Committee Instagram to see some cool images and videos. Chris and I are right in the middle of doing a GORGEOUS and amazing project with the cranberry folks to get you ready for the holidays, so with cranberries on my brain (and all over my house) I'm excited to introduce you to Fawn Gottschalk who is a 3rd generation cranberry farmer!  

fresh cranberries

1. Tell us about yourself and your business.

I’m the 3rd generation of my family to grow cranberries on our marsh.  All of our berries go to Ocean Spray (a grower owned co-op of which we are members) to be processed into juice, Craisins, sauce, etc. I spend most of my time in the office doing administration and overseeing the finances but I live on the marsh and check in with our crew regularly. We have had the same marsh manager for 35+ years and he and our other employees are more like family to us. They are very dedicated to growing our crop and take pride in what they do.  I love hosting school kids and others who want to visit the marsh to learn more about cranberries, especially at harvest time. I am passionate about communicating the health benefits of cranberries which is why I serve on the board of The Cranberry Institute.

2. If you could define your food philosophy in one sentence it would be….

The fresher I eat, the better I feel. 

3. What are your 3 must have foods in your kitchen?

Fresh fruit, high quality olive oil, cheese – of course, there are always fresh cranberries in the back yard this time of year too!

4. It’s your birthday. What are you eating?

 Pizza from Portesi’s. Something chocolatey and decadent.

5. Signature cocktail?

I love fruity drinks. Hard cider, sweet white wine – or a cranberry rum punch

6. Food you can’t like no matter how hard you try?

Asparagus!

7. What are your go-to resources for all things food? 

  • Weight Watchers – www.weightwatchers.com, magazine, cookbooks (I lost a significant amount of weight on the program and am a former meeting leader)

  • Hungry Girl – www.hungry-girl.com has awesome lightened up recipes. I subscribe to the newsletter to get them by email and also have 2 of her cookbooks

  • Pampered Chef - www.pamperedchef.com

  • Pinterest, Facebook

  • Midwest Living, Real Simple magazines

  • My favorite grocery store is Festival Foods (a regional chain) but the nearest one is 45 minutes away. I have ordered ingredients from Amazon that I couldn’t find here in rural Wisconsin.

8. Food fad you wish would die a horrible death?

Drinking all your meals (like meal replacement smoothies and juicing). I think food is meant to be chewed!  A smoothie once in a while is great, but when a person does it all the time they’re letting the blender do some of the work their body should be doing. 

9. Must have kitchen tool:

I’m a sucker for tools, especially from The Pampered Chef so it’s hard to pick just one…a good spatula, a sharp knife

10. What’s the one thing you learned this year that changed the way you think about food?

I am lucky to live in an agriculturally rich area. I've known this for a while but have really come to appreciate it more in the last year.  I can visit a different farmers' market each day on 4 or 5 days during the week to purchase locally grown fruits, veggies, meats, honey, etc. If I take a little time now to buy extra produce and freeze it, we can enjoy the taste of summer in the dead of winter.

Thanks so much to Fawn for this interview during harvest season! If you want to catch up on more women in food interviews, meet Elizabeth from The New Bridge restaurant. 

Dietitian Nutritionist. My husband Chris and I create food and beverage photos, videos, stopmotions and recipes. And they're really cool.