Ocean Spray: From Bog to Bottle 2018

Mid-October means it’s time for one of our favorite annual traditions here at Pine Island Cranberry: a visit from George Giorno of Ocean Spray on his “Bog to Bottle” tour! George comes to see us every year, along with various account executives from some of Ocean Spray’s wholesale customers. This year, we were happy to see that George brought Greg McCann of Advantage Solutions for his fourth visit, as well as new visitors Jeremy Mitchell (also from Advantage), Danny Seijido from the Ocean Spray sales team, and Tucker Lynn and Victor DeJesso from Wakefern.

The group gathered at our main office, where they heard a brief farm history from CEO Bill Haines, and fifth generation grower Mike Haines and his sister Stefanie took everyone out to see how we do things in the pines!

We arrived at Red Road just as our team was beginning the process of gathering a freshly picked bed, and everyone got to go up onto the bog side cleaner’s platform to get a view from the top!

Then it was off for a close up look at the Gates Harrow in action before heading down the road to the Ocean Spray receiving station in Chatsworth.

These days, all the Haines family really has to provide is a driver; George’s knowledge and enthusiasm is tremendous, and he knows every single step of our harvest. “While the calendar may say fall arrives on September 21st, it really doesn’t actually arrive until our annual trip to visit the Haines Family at PICC in mid-October,” says George. “Yet another great day with Stef and Michael Haines this year, while also getting to visit with Bill upon our arrival, as we toured the farm with our guests from Wakefern Food Corporation and our agency partners from Advantage Solutions. For four of our guests, this was their first time experiencing the beauty of the Cranberry Harvest and for me, it was another day where I get to reignite the passion for my vocation and visit with a great Ocean Spray Cooperative Family who treat me as one of her own! Never a visit without learning something new from something old as PICC is continuously improving their harvesting operations in a meaningful, efficient and positive way.”

Greg McCann always has a good time, too, and never fails to ask interesting questions! “This being my fourth year of touring your bog, I learned something new, yet again,” Greg says. “With the hot weather being late this year, it really affects the color of the cranberries, as evidenced by the mix of white, pink and red colors in the Bog! Last year, they were more crimson red, at this point in October.”

We say this every year after George and his group come to see us: it’s always a pleasure to speak with people who are genuinely enthusiastic about what they do and are so willing to completely immerse themselves in a new experience. It‘s always fun to have George and his team here and show our customers how we really do things. It’s good for them, and it’s good for us. Thanks again, George, for everything you and your team do!

From Bog to Bottle 2017

If it’s mid-October, that must mean it’s time for another visit from George Giorno of Ocean Spray! George comes to see us every year, along with various account executives from some of Ocean Spray’s wholesale customers. This year, we were happy to visit again with Greg McCann of Advantage Solutions, who brought along new customer development manager Julianna Lombardi, and John Aleksandrowicz and Mark McFadden of Foodtown/Allegiance Marketing. Rounding out the group were Ocean Spray sales directors Eric Sinsigalli and Brian Gormley!

The morning started at the Pine Island main office, where CEO Bill Haines gave the group a brief farm history and a quick overview of what they were about to see, and then it was off to catch the action.

We’ve only been running one crew this week, but there was plenty of opportunity to see everything going on! They got to see the older reel harvesters in action as well as the bog side cleaner, and there was even time for a quick tour of the shop and a close-up look at one of our recently planted beds before heading to the Ocean Spray receiving station in Chatsworth.

George and his group are always a highlight of our harvest season, and they always have a good time.

“I learn something new every single year,” says Greg McCann. “This year I learned that due to the warmer and drier weather this year, you are only running one crew and picking late due to the fact that the berries are not turning red as quickly as you would like. I also learned the different shades of red that are needed to make Craisins. And it was another perfect weather day, as well!”

Mark McFadden wants to come back again and try something new: “I thought Wednesday was an awesome day, and I must say, Pine Island is a very impressive operation. I am hoping next time I can go into the bogs!”

“As a long time Ocean Spray Sales Manager, I can easily say that no other experience compares to the expression on my customer’s faces than that of witnessing the magic of our cranberry harvest at PICC with the Haines family,” says George. “No matter how I prepare them for what they’re about the experience, it’s never enough and never disappoints! This year was no different as John, Mark and Juliana were all rendered speechless as we drove through the farm on what amounted to be the perfect brilliant fall day! For me, this serves as my annual cranberry charge as it reminds me how blessed I am to be both associated with such a wonderful brand and where I get to be part of a generous cooperative grower family who treat me as one of their own!”

Bill was just as happy with this year’s visit. “It was great to have the Ocean Spray team here,” he says. “George always brings an interesting group of people. We don’t do many tours, but that’s one we always enjoy. We’re happy to show our operation, our heritage, and talk to them about everything we do to protect the environment and supply quality cranberries for the market.”

Thanks again for a wonderful morning, George! We appreciate everything you, your team, and your guests do, and we look forward to seeing you next year!

From Bog to Bottle 2016

Harvest time means it’s time for our yearly visit from George Giorno of Ocean Spray! George comes to see us every year, along with various account executives from some of Ocean Spray’s wholesale customers. This year, we were happy to visit again with Greg McCann and Jim Falese of Advantage Solutions, as well as Chris Przewoznik and Ed Peslak of General Trading Wholesale, Lauren Schmidt, Jeff Bowen, and John Scarangello with Ocean Spray’s retail operations, and last but not least, George’s daughter Marissa, a sales analyst with Kellogg’s!

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The morning began in our main office, with CEO Bill Haines giving the group an introduction to our operation and a brief family history. Then, it was off in the van to see the harvest in action! We were unfortunately not able to see the harrow at work, but the group was able to see our new bog side cleaner running out at Sim Place, and even got the chance to go up and see the view from the top!

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Greg McCann was happy to see our new equipment, as well as the results. “I really enjoyed this visit, as I saw a new process that you weren’t really using last year! It’s great to see how you now save steps in the process and free up some of your people to do other things,” he says. And he was impressed by our team’s driving skills, as well: “It was interesting to watch the tractor trailers navigate around the narrow roads throughout the bog.” He’s looking forward to coming back again next year, with different customers, and the feeling is mutual!

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Lauren Schmidt, Ocean Spray’s newest Retail Operations Manager, expressed similar enthusiasm: “I loved the tour of the farm and bogs. Our team got the full experience, from tasting fresh cranberries off the vine, to watching each step in the impressive process of harvest. We lucked out with a beautiful fall day and the colors of the harvest were gorgeous! The Haines family took time out of their busy schedules to show us around for several hours and I know everyone felt the pride they have in the business throughout our time together.”

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We say this every year after George and his group come to see us: it’s always a pleasure to speak with people who are genuinely enthusiastic about what they do and are so willing to completely immerse themselves in a new experience. “It‘s always fun to have George and his team here and show our customers how we really do it. I think it’s good for all of us,” Bill says.

Ocean Spray: From Bog to Bottle 2015

Pine Island Cranberry was pleased to host a visit yesterday from George Giorno at Ocean Spray, who brought along his associates Greg McCann, Vinny Bergamini, and Jim Falese (from Advantage Sales and Marketing) and Alexandra Von Nessen and Steve Salerno (from Wakefern Corporation). They work closely with George and Ocean Spray on marketing and distribution, and were happy to have the opportunity to see a cranberry harvest in action!

The morning started at our main office with a brief introduction to the business from CEO Bill Haines, who then led the group out to see our hard-working crews getting the harvest in! At our first stop, Bill was able to give them a closer view of the inside of a cranberry as well as the bud set on the vines for next year’s crop.

Subsequent stops included a chance to see our Gates Harrow harvester in action, as well as our traditional gathering crew and a stop at the packing house platform.

Everyone asked some really fantastic questions and also had a wonderful time, according to Greg McCann: “The tour was very enlightening! I have been to numerous plant tours over the course of my career, but never to the origin, where the process begins. To be able to see the cranberries harvested, and even pick one off the bush, was an amazing experience! I would recommend it to any customer who is on the Juice or Fruit Buying Desk!” For our part, we truly enjoy visiting with folks who show such enthusiasm and willingness to learn! As George himself said, “…we enjoyed sharing our passion about this wonderful little berry that’s afforded us a great brand of products to share and enjoy with the entire world!”

Thanks, George…and thank you, Greg, Vinny, Jim, Alex, and Steve, for taking the time out of your day to visit!

Ocean Spray: “From Bog to Bottle”

Pine Island Cranberry was very pleased last week to host a visit from George Giorno of Ocean Spray, who brought along business partners Rich Rosen and Ed Machala of White Rose Wholesale Distributors and Terry Brown, Ron Camporeale, and Bill Gibbons of Acosta Sales Agency. While George’s guests work closely with Ocean Spray on marketing and distribution, they had never actually seen a cranberry harvest before and were, to a man, thrilled to be here. It’s always a pleasure to speak with people who are genuinely enthusiastic about what they do and are so willing to completely immerse themselves in a new experience.

Their day started with a chat from Bill, who gave them a brief history of Pine Island and a bit of background on what they were all about to see.

Then it was off for a whirlwind tour of our harvest! Bill and Cristina took them everywhere: our guests saw how we manage our water, how our knocking crews get the berries off the vines, how our gathering crews collect the crop, and how the packing house gets them ready for the next stop on their tour: the Ocean Spray receiving station. Dan Schiffhauer walked them through the process there, and they finished up with a tour in Bordentown, that essentially, as George says, “filled the bottle. The day was a great education for us all.”

George continued: “For me personally, this was one of those days as an Ocean Spray employee where I drove home a little taller in my seat knowing that behind every bottle of Ocean Spray juice there lies an army of great people creating the best Cranberry products in the world – and what a blessing and honor it is for me to be a part of this fantastic cooperative lineage.”

*photos courtesy Terry Brown