Archive | April, 2018

Lots of cranberry news today

27 Apr

Lassonde purchases Old Orchard Here

Proposed marketing order 2018 published

27 Apr


After a quick read, the USDA is proposing the same exemption as the 2017, so if you handle 125,000 bbls or less or don’t have any carryover you are exempt. The comment period is 30 days.

Graceland-CranGrow announcement

27 Apr

Graceland Fruit Announces Wisconsin Expansion

Addition of State-of-the-art Production Facility Provides

30 Percent Increase in Manufacturing Capacity


Frankfort, MI. April 27, 2018 Graceland Fruit, a global leader in the production of dried fruit, announces the expansion of its operations through an alliance with Wisconsin-based Cranberry Growers Cooperative (CranGrow) that allows it to staff and operate a new, state-of-the-art processing plant in Warrens, Wisconsin.

Graceland Fruit purchases Wisconsin cranberries to manufacture dried cranberries in its Frankfort, Michigan facilities. The overwhelming success of global sales of its dried cranberries has led to demand outpacing its current production capacity. The CranGrow alliance provides Graceland Fruit with increased manufacturing capacity to support its global growth plans and provides CranGrow members/growers access to worldwide markets through Graceland Fruit’s well-established sales network.

“We have established invaluable relationships in the marketplace, as well as a strong sales force that has resulted in demand outpacing our current manufacturing capacity.  In 2017, CranGrow opened a new, modern production facility, and will benefit from a more established market.  So, it made sense to work together to meet mutual goals,” said Graceland Fruit CEO Al DeVore.

DeVore said Graceland Fruit’s manufacturing capacity will increase by approximately 30 percent with the addition of the 50,000 square foot Warrens processing facility.   Graceland now boasts 285,000 square feet of manufacturing space combined in Warrens and Frankfort.

CranGrow will remain an independent grower cooperative that supplies Graceland Fruit. All 61 current CranGrow employees at the Warrens facility will become Graceland Fruit employees, increasing the company’s total employment to approximately 275.

“We’re excited to begin this alliance that will greatly benefit both CranGrow and Graceland Fruit,” said CranGrow Board Chair Linda Prehn.  “Graceland Fruit is a world leader in the production of dried cranberries.  By combining our resources in Wisconsin with Graceland’s manufacturing expertise and global sales network, we are establishing a solid future for growers, employees and the community.”

Graceland Fruit and CranGrow have been working together to create a seamless transition and integration plan. “Members of Graceland Fruit’s research and development, technical and quality staffs are working hand-in-hand at the Wisconsin facility to assist the team in implementing Graceland Fruit’s rigorous standards – ensuring that the new facility produces the consistent quality customers have come to expect from Graceland Fruit products,” added DeVore.

About Graceland Fruit

With headquarters in Frankfort, Michigan, Graceland Fruit produces and markets dried fruit and other products to over fifty countries worldwide. Its customer base includes some of the largest and most prestigious commercial baking and food companies in the world. The company also markets its branded products to consumers in retail outlets and online. Early innovators of the technology used for drying tart cherries and cranberries, Graceland Fruit has twice been named Michigan Agriculture Exporter of the Year. Primary product lines include dried cranberries, cherries, blueberries and apples. For more information, visit


About Cranberry Growers Cooperative (CranGrow)

For CranGrow, growing cranberries isn’t just a business, it is a way of life. It was founded by more than 30 Wisconsin cranberry growers passionate about growing cranberries. The growing operations that constitute the cooperative are family-owned and operated farms that have been passed on from generation to generation, several more than 100 years old.

Federal Marketing order for 2017 crop approved!

4 Apr

In the Federal Register post today, the folks at the USDA proved that they can listen, but did not hear. The final rule was approved largely as was proposed (and published) in January. All handlers that handle 125,000 barrels or less are exempt, but maybe not if they have carryover inventory? All handlers with no carryover inventory as of 8/31 are exempt. Carryover inventory means inventory that isn’t sold or under contract as of the end of August. 15% of the fruit is restricted and 85% unrestricted. Finished goods (ie concentrate or SDCs VS frozen fruit) can be used for disposal.

My take? In August 2017 the CMC met and discussed at length a proposed regulation. They compromised and put forth a good faith proposal to the USDA. The CMC recommended an order that was fair because all handlers exempted their first 125,000 barrels and the notion of carryover inventory wasn’t considered, because the industry needs carryover inventory. In January 2018 the USDA put forth its’ proposed order. The CMC met again to comment on the proposed order and the USDA listened. The comment period brought forth many comments, and the USDA listened. But did it hear? The final order will definitely tighten cranberry supplies. Mother Nature has already tightened supplies, but this will go further. Clearly the small handlers (but not necessarily the small growers) will not have to dispose of much fruit, if any. Maybe the USDA clarified the carryover inventory issue. But in this case, maybe four or five (my guess) US handlers will bear the brunt of this regulation. Certainly these four represent a far majority of growers, but if this is how the USDA implements a handler set aside, give me a producer allotment version any day.

Hey, I have an idea for the handlers….stop making products that customers don’t want…ie concentrate that fills freezers. Retool the plants and the marketing plans to move product. Tell growers to pay attention to what they are planting/renovating.

And to the USDA? By ignoring the message of your grower elected CMC members you put forth a final rule that still has questions and is not really fair. I can’t wait to see the 2018 proposed rule, due out shortly.