Inside the Cranberry - A look inside Ocean Spray from bog to bottle.

Final Products Produced at Our Bordentown Plant

On Friday, August 29th, Ocean Spray’s team at our Bordentown, NJ facility produced the plant’s last case for retail sale. This case (of Ocean Spray® Ruby Red!), marked the conclusion of 71 years of continuous production operations at the plant. While Bordentown is still busy with shutdown work, this is a major milestone in our transition to the new Lehigh Valley Beverage Facility. The countdown to this moment began four years ago, when the Cooperative announced plans to close the aging Bordentown facility (parts of which date back to before the Civil War) and transition operations to a new facility in nearby Pennsylvania.  Eighty-eight members of Team Bordentown are pictured with the "last case” of Ocean Spray® Cranberry Juice Cocktail, but a lot more contributed to this moment. About 100 of our colleagues have already transferred to Lehigh Valley, some have retired, and some have pursued other employment opportunities.  The entire Cooperative is excited to see the unique Bordentown culture, which focuses on safety and ownerships, flourish in our new facility but wanted to take this moment to thank our colleagues, friends, and partners in Bordentown for all their hard work and dedication to Ocean Spray® over the past 70 plus years.

Buzzing about the bog: Ocean Spray promotes native pollinators

Our current crop of North American cranberries is already looking strong and for that, we have the tiny bee to thank.  Cranberries are among the many fruit and vegetable crops that depend on bees for pollination – a daunting task given that an average acre of cranberry plants produces about 20 million white blooms each spring. Each flower must be visited at least once by a pollinator in order to turn the cranberry bloom into a white berry. The berries turn their characteristic crimson hue in August and September as they continue to ripen.  

Given the essential role that pollination plays in a successful cranberry crop, many farmers transport honeybee colonies to their bogs. Today, however, managed honeybee hives in the U.S. are besieged by mites, beetles and microbes that cause devastating disease. With the swift decline in the honeybee population, the role of native or “wild” bees— solitary insects that nest in the ground or inside vegetation—has become critical. In fact, native pollinators, such as the blue orchard bee, help fertilize crops worth an estimated $3 billion each year.

Ocean Spray cranberry growers and members of the Native Pollinators in Agriculture Project visit a bog in Massachusetts. Participants examined native bee habitats and discussed strategies for safeguarding and promoting native bee populations.

Ocean Spray has partnered with groups such as the Native Pollinators in Agriculture (NPIA) to encourage native bee pollinators, which are more resistant to pests than their honeybee counterparts, to make their home in cranberry bogs.  The NPIA has counseled Ocean Spray growers on planting crops that bloom during different times of the year to keep the native pollinators interested in and living near their bogs. 

Ocean Spray has also partnered with the Agricultural Research Service (ARS), a division of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, to fund entomological research on native bee species. One small blue bee that the ARS is studying comes from a family that makes its nest in stems, branches, fence posts, tree trunks, and aboveground areas. Entomologists have been encouraging the bee to take up residence in cranberry bogs in New Jersey by providing plenty of wood blocks with holes drilled in them as possible nesting material. 

There is still much research to be done on the collapse of managed honeybee colonies across the U.S. and on the best methods for safeguarding and promoting native pollinators. What is certain is that Ocean Spray will continue to support initiatives that aim to keep our nation’s bees buzzing.

London gets a taste of New England

It’s no question that the English take their gardening seriously. The tradition dates back to the 1st century AD, when the Romans cultivated gardens around villas and palaces. Today, the traditions of gardening and garden tours remain quintessentially English pursuits.

This summer Ocean Spray had the opportunity to share in that rich heritage by constructing a cranberry harvest display for the Hampton Court Palace Flower Show, the world’s largest flower show hosted each year by the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS).  Founded in 1804, the RHS aims to inspire passion and excellence in the science, art and practice of horticulture.

The Hampton Court Palace Flower Show, hosted each July, features floral marquees, show gardens as well as talks and demonstrations that demonstrate the best in gardening.  

As an exhibitor at the world-class flower show, Ocean Spray recreated the picturesque landscape of a New England cranberry bog. The display showed viewers how cranberries, grown on low creeping shrubs, are harvested by flooding the cranberry beds, creating a crimson tide of berries. Complementing the garden display was a cranberry flower installation, crafted entirely from cranberries, which floated in the Palace Long Water, the central canal overlooking the Hampton Court Palace.  

Adrienne Mollor, a second generation cranberry grower from Massachusetts, provided visitors with insight and behind-the-scenes stories about harvesting cranberries and running a family farm.  Guests of the show were also given the opportunity to put on a pair of waders and experience harvesting first-hand.  

Take a look at the video below to see how Ocean Spray set up the display of millions of cranberries in the Palace Long Water.

Ocean Spray Makes a Splash in the Middle East

Ocean Spray holds a cooking class in Lebanon to highlight the diversity of the cranberry.

At Ocean Spray, few things are more exciting than launching our cranberry products in a new part of the world. In mid-May we officially launched our range of juice drinks in the Middle East, including in Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates, as well as Algeria, Jordan, Lebanon, and Morocco and Egypt.

To celebrate our launch in the region, we hosted a series of events across the region, including a reception at the Dubai Marina Yacht Club featuring a selection of Ocean Spray-inspired cocktails; a sampling event on Dubai’s JBR Walk, a bustling waterfront promenade; and a cranberry cooking class in Lebanon. 

Ocean Spray celebrates our Middle East launch on the Dubai waterfront.

Our launch in the Middle East comes at a time of rising juice consumption in the region.  According to Ocean Spray research, regular juice drinkers in Lebanon, UAE and Saudi Arabia are becoming more inclined to drink cranberry juice, with 97% having said they would consider drinking cranberry juice over other flavors.

We look forward to sharing all of the delicious and nutritious benefits of the cranberry with juice drinkers across the Middle East. We think it’s the start of a beautiful friendship.

Bog display grabs gold at Ireland garden show


Berry Tableau: This Ocean Spray-sponsored show garden won gold and helped visitors in Ireland soak in the beauty of a New England cranberry harvest.

It may not be a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow, but we’re pretty pleased with the gold medal we helped capture last month for a show garden at Ireland’s largest gardening festival, Bord Bia’s Bloom. The garden, titled “Wellbeing Wetlands, inspired by Ocean Spray from Gardens Now,” was created by master gardeners to help transport the more than 100,000 visitors in Dublin to the iconic scenery of a New England cranberry harvest.

The garden is an example of the ways we love to bring the breath-taking experience of the cranberry harvest to unexpected places. In the past, our bog displays have visited NYC’s Rockefeller Center, DC’s Union Station and even in Vancouver in celebration of the 2010 Olympic Games.

The garden was one of 20 show gardens on display at Phoenix Park in Dublin, and its creators from Gardens Now incorporated no fewer than 50,000 cranberries; 1,500 shrubs, herbaceous plants and grasses; and 20 mature trees.

Stay tuned for more imaginative bog displays this fall as our Bogs Across America campaign kicks off its 10-year anniversary.

Ocean Spray Receives Presidential Award for Exports

We’re excited to announce Ocean Spray has received the President’s “E” Award for Exports. The “E” Awards are the highest recognition any U.S. entity may receive for making a significant contribution to the expansion of U.S. exports. U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker presented Ocean Spray’s COO, Ken Romanzi, and Manager of Global Trade Strategies, Lisa Hill, with the award at a ceremony in Washington, D.C on Wednesday, May 28. 


U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker presents Ocean Spray’s COO, Ken Romanzi, and Manager of Global Trade Strategies, Lisa Hill, with the award at a ceremony in Washington, D.C. 

U.S. exports of goods and services hit an all-time record of $2.3 trillion in 2013. Nationally, jobs supported by exports reached more than 11 million last year, up 1.6 million since 2009. Launched earlier this month, NEI/Next, a new phase of President Obama’s National Export Initiative, works to boost economic growth and support additional American jobs by assisting more U.S. companies of all sizes in exporting to more markets across the globe. 

In recognizing Ocean Spray, Secretary Pritzker said, “Ocean Spray Cranberries has demonstrated a sustained commitment to export expansion. The “E” Awards Committee was very impressed with Ocean Spray Cranberries’ creative multi-tiered marketing programs. The company’s work with non-profit organizations and committees dedicated to expanding agricultural exports was also particularly impressive. Ocean Spray Cranberries achievements have undoubtedly contributed to national export expansion efforts that support the U.S. economy and create American jobs. 

President Kennedy revived the World War II “E” symbol of excellence to honor and provide recognition to America's exporters. The “E” Award Program was established by Executive Order 10978 on December 5, 1961. Four years of successive export growth and an applicant’s demonstration of an innovative international marketing plan that led to the increase in exports is a significant factor in making the award. 

U.S. companies are nominated for the “E” Award for Exports through the Department of Commerce’s U.S. and Foreign Commercial Service office network, located within the Department’s International Trade Administration, which has offices in 108 U.S. cities and more than 70 countries to help U.S. exporters.  

A total of 66 U.S. companies were presented with the President’s “E” Award this year. Ocean Spray was honored to be among them. 

Grown in Massachusetts and Exported all over the world

At Ocean Spray, we’re proud of our Massachusetts heritage and our role in supporting the cherished traditions of cranberry farming that took root here almost two centuries ago.  And while the cranberry is a uniquely homegrown product—indeed, it’s one of North America’s three native fruits that are commercially grown—we have long known that the powerful little berry is destined for great things, both at home and abroad. 

That’s why we’ve invested heavily in efforts to bring the cranberry to new markets overseas and to develop new and delicious ways to enjoy the fruit. Since Ocean Spray’s founding in 1930, our ambitions for the cranberry have translated into tremendous growth—over the past 10 years, the Cooperative’s sales have nearly doubled in size to $2.2 billion. Today, Ocean Spray cranberries are included in over 1,000 products in more than 90 countries around the world. 

Our enterprising approach to the cranberry recently earned us some exciting industry recognition. We’re proud recipients of the 2014 Associated Industries of Massachusetts (AIM) Global Trade award. Presented by AIM’s International Business Council, the award recognizes excellence among Massachusetts businesses that are engaged in international trade. The award acknowledges Ocean Spray for its successful efforts in exporting, but also for its role as a significant and growing contributor to the Massachusetts economy. 

Ocean Spray accepted the award at the AIM Annual Meeting on May 9th. The ceremony also featured a short video profiling Ocean Spray’s global trade strategy. Take a look below to see the video, which includes highlights from our recent trips to China and Russia!

Lehigh Valley Grand Opening

On Tuesday, April 29, Ocean Spray celebrated the grand opening of our newest facility in the Lehigh Valley of Pennsylvania. Ocean Spray broke ground on the 44 acre site in April 2012. More than 1000 men and woman have put in close to 350,000 man hours to build the nearly 300,000 square-foot plant that will produce more than 30 million cases of juice beverages each year.

The celebration got started on Monday, April 28th with a visit from Ocean Spray’s well-known characters from their TV commercials. The duo was on hand to film a special video introduction for the ribbon cutting but also got a tour and the opportunity to meet with employees. As you can see from the picture to the right, our favorite cranberry growing rookie only caused a slight bit of trouble! 

On Tuesday morning, the famous duo were back and joined by Ocean Spray’s President & CEO Randy Papadellis, the Cooperative’s Board of Directors and senior management, as well as public officials and a large number of Ocean Spray’s Grower-Owners. The event kicked off with breakfast and a few speeches before a ribbon cutting at 11am. 

Interested in learning more about the Lehigh Valley facility? Check out the video below. And for more on the ribbon cutting check out this fantastic blog post by one of our Grower-Owners. 

 

Jimmy Fallon’s “million dollar idea”: the Story of #Saucesingles

Building a Better Sandwich: a sneak peak at the cranberry #saucesingles

It’s a longstanding conundrum that many sandwich-lovers face: how to quickly and easily incorporate cranberries in a sandwich when fresh or canned sauce is not readily available or convenient. 

In July of last year, Jimmy Fallon, then the host of Late Night, shared with his viewers a “million- dollar idea” for solving this age-old challenge: cranberry slices. “Ocean Spray, call me. Let’s do this,” said Jimmy. 

The Ocean Spray “scientists” bring Jimmy into the test kitchen for a taste test.

We quickly saw the value in Jimmy’s thinking—a pre-sliced and individually packaged cranberry condiment could be the next frontier for cranberry consumption. Since that night in July, we’ve been tweeting with Jimmy and caught up with him on his visit to Boston this past fall. But we also wanted him to know that we’re taking his #saucesingles idea seriously. 

To keep the conversation going, we put together a video response that takes a fictional look at chefs and scientists in our “top secret test kitchen,” hammering out a cranberry slice prototype. Since launching the video, social media has been buzzing with talk of #saucesingles. Take a look at the video below to see what the craze is all about. 

The final phase of testing for the cranberry #saucesingles

While the video is intended to amuse and entertain, the fictional test kitchen is not far off from the real thing. At Ocean Spray, we take cranberry innovation seriously—it’s in our DNA. Our dedicated team of scientists and cooks have worked for decades to develop new formats and applications for the tiny little berry, from beverages and cereals to chocolates and pet foods. 

So stay tuned, all you cranberry lovers. Share the video, tweet Jimmy and your turkey sandwiches may be in for a cranberry #saucesingles transformation.

A Sneak Peak at Ocean Spray’s Newest Facility

At 5:36pm on January 29th the first bottles of Ocean Spray® Cranberry Juice Cocktail ever to be produced in Pennsylvania came off the production line at our new facility in the Lehigh Valley. While those bottles were just part of the commissioning process, there are many millions to follow. We are very excited about the near completion of our new bottling facility, which is located in Upper Macungie Township. We broke ground about two years ago and completed major construction on the facility this winter. We are now focused on “commissioning” the plant and testing both our equipment and process to get it humming along at full capacity.

Once fully operational, our Lehigh Valley Facility will also be the largest beverage facility in Ocean Spray’s network, handling about 40 percent of our North American volume. The almost 300,000 square-foot plant will produce more than 30 million cases of beverages each year. We are pleased to be hiring about 90 new employees from the Lehigh Valley area to work at the facility, while relocating about 100 of our talented and dedicated employees from our Bordentown, N.J. facility which is expected to close later this summer.

 

As a cooperative founded on the work of its many grower-owners we are pleased to be joining the Lehigh Valley community and we look forward to being a part of the Pennsylvania economy for many decades to come.  We’ll provide another update on the new facility following next month’s grand opening. Stay tuned!