We continue our special series on the food companies that have helped shaped the way we celebrate this most blessed of holidays, Thanksgiving, by taking a look at another company that is not really a company at all, but a cooperative: It is a cooperative called Ocean Spray, and it was formed in Hanson, Massachusetts in 1930 by three cranberry growers with a dream: To expand their market for cranberries.
A grower by the name of Marcus L. Urann had once created a cranberry sauce, but I am betting that he had something even more in mind: He wanted to create more cranberry-based products. So, in that year of 1930, this cooperative was developed, and in that year alone the cooperative that would become known as Ocean Spray, as it is today, would become the very first producer of cranberry juice drinks beginning with the introduction of the cranberry juice cocktail.
An executive named Edward Gelsthorpe began working with Sylvia Schur to develop a new product that would bring the cranberry to great popularity: It would be called the Cranapple juice, introduced in 1963. It would lead to the fact that the cranberry would be in usage year-round, and that would also earn Edward the nickname of “Cranapple Ed”! Meanwhile, in the bicentennial year of 1976, the Ocean Spray cooperative’s membership would be expanded to Florida’s grapefruit growers.
In addition, Ocean Spray not only has its own cooperative, but they also have facilities that fill juices in these locations: Allentown, Pennsylvania, Henderson, Nevada, Kenosha, Wisconsin, and Sulphur Springs, Texas.
But that’s not all: Throughout the years, Ocean Spray has made innovations aplenty, including its first juice boxes, as well as sweetened dried cranberries, known as “Craisins” (TRANSLATION: A rip-off of raisins…just kidding). And finally, Ocean Spray would go on to receive its highest honor: The ChefsBest Award for best taste with its own cranberry juice. Such a sweet reward!