Grower Spotlight: Annie’s Crannies

This article was written by  Abby Cianciolo for the Cape Cod Cranberry Growers’ Association August Newsletter. 

Nestled in the historic village of Dennis lies a hidden treasure not commonly known to the general public. Down side streets touched by streams of dirt and dust, through arches of beautiful trees and bushes, if you look closely you will see something beautiful, something like stepping back in time.

augustbogsidepocono16
Annie Walker

Driving up a narrow sand covered entry way, a lovely, rustic wooden barn catch-es your eye to the right. To the left, a sea of green floods your vision as you stare into the large blossoming cranberry bogs. At first glance, you may believe the glori-ous growing space may be that elusive prize previously mentioned, but the real paragon is Miss Annie Walker, owner of Annie’s Crannies.

 

From the second you step onto her farm, Annie Walker invites you into her world where history comes alive through her advanced knowledge, kind heart, and irreproachable passion for the cranberry industry.

Annie’s Crannies, aside from being a beautiful bog, is also rich in history and at the center of “Hall Town” as Annie affectionately refers to it. The Hall family is an essential piece to the puzzle in terms of Massachusetts commercial cranberry growing. In 1816, Henry Hall accidentally discovered the process of cultivating cranberries when he noticed the crops increased when sand blew over his bog, and thus began the historic tradition of cranberry growing in Massachusetts.

Henry Hall saw the results of his happy accident and decided to test out different cultivation processes for his cranberries. He had one bog that was not producing cranberries to the same caliber as his other bogs, so he moved his cows to this area which he named “Molly’s Pasture.” The bog remained in the Hall family until 1911 when Annie’s grandfather, Ben Walker, bought the bogs and worked them from 1911 to 1959, which is how it received its name of “Ben’s Bog.”

While Annie may spend her days now out in the sunlight, she made her start behind the scenes. Annie pursued her passion for the arts as a production wardrobe supervisor on Broadway. After years of the city life, she was looking to get back to her roots and make her start in the cranberry industry, following in her grandfather’s footsteps. In 1994, she traded yellow taxis for tractors and purchased Ben’s Bog and Molly’s Pasture where she has been cultivating cranberries ever since.

Alongside Annie is her lifelong friend, Dean, who also owns historical cranberry bogs himself. Dean is the owner of the bog where the cultivation of the cranberry began in Massachusetts which belonged to Henry Hall.

Dean and Annie share a passion for growing, history, and a simple way of life. Not to mention, the pair are also avid bee lovers. Dean mentions his favorite part of the bogs are getting to see the native bees in the summer pollinating and making their way through the berries, so much so that he has a chair firmly planted along the ditch surrounding his bog to get a front row seat. Dean and Annie offer one another companionship, support, and certainly another set of hands out on their properties.

Annie’s Crannies has been a huge success, all while keeping a simple, organic mindset at the foreground. Annie does not advertise her bog tours, as she believes that the experience of finding her bog is an adventure in itself for those who choose to accept it. She finds that that those who take her tour reap more benefits from discovering something no one else knew about. Annie also integrates little computer use in her business, preferring the pen, pencil, and clipboard method. Despite this approach, Annie’s Crannies secured a large account as the supplier of cranberries for Whole Foods Market in Hyannis, in addition to her overwhelming amount of orders throughout the harvest season.

Annie is quite modest about her success as a grower, and contributes her achievements to the rich history of her bog. On Molly’s Pasture, the same bog Hall had little success with, Annie was able to cultivate 457 barrels of cranberries, an impressive feat noted by those who take her bog tour.

“When people on tours say, ‘Wow! And what do you do? And it has nothing to do with me,” Annie humbly says, “It’s all about the native bees and pollinators and those up above thanking me for preserving a piece of agricultural history.”

As if she was not busy enough growing cranberries, Annie also uses the native bees on her bog to produce several varieties of honeys, each delicious and containing a sweet bit of cranberry. The remaining wax from the bees she uses to make beautiful candles in various molds and shapes.

Although she is not on Broadway anymore, Annie’s outgoing and charming personality still shines through during her bog tours and even just in conversation with her. She brings history to life with her passion and knowledge of her bog and the Hall family tradition, all with the biggest smile on her face. The simple joy of her work is apparent to all who find their way to her bog.

As a cranberry grower, Annie faces the same hardships that many others in the industry are all too familiar with, but her love of growing and preservation of the roots of the industry never fade despite circumstance. Annie is a brilliant representation of tenacity, ingenuity, and provides a firm reminder of living out the phrase “do what you love, and love what you do.”

Stock Fresh Cranberries to Drive Seasonal Produce Sales

From mid-September through December, fresh cranberries are harvested and available for your store shelves. U.S.-grown cranberries are in season for just a few months, but with big promotions, you can drive greater sales of this favorite fall fruit. Whether you combine your efforts with a nationwide promotion or share easy-to-make recipes, you can give shoppers more reasons to buy cranberries! Here are a few ways you can market fresh cranberries in your store:

Target Millennials with a Nationwide Promotion – Cranberry Friendsgiving Social Media Contest
Friendsgiving is the growing millennial-driven trend all about celebrating Thanksgiving with friends – either on Thanksgiving or during the weeks before or after. The Cranberry Friendsgiving Photo Contest allows you to engage with millennial shoppers and create additional fresh cranberry purchasing opportunities. Join the growing social media buzz and invite your shoppers to share their Friendsgiving cranberry creations with the hashtag #FriendsgivingCranberryContest and enter the contest for a chance to win one of several $500 prizes at www.CranberryFriendsgiving.com.

How you can bring Friendsgiving to your store:
In-Store

  • Showcase on-shelf signage promoting fresh cranberries in recipes and decorations
  • Feature colorful displays with cranberries, other ingredients and recipe cards
  • Host in-store demos highlighting cranberries in Friendsgiving recipes and decorations
  • Amplify through in-store magazines, ad circulars and overhead radio
  • Distribute printed and electronic coupons to drive fresh cranberry purchases

Online

  • Post Cranberry Friendsgiving social media content, including tips and recipes using the hashtag #FriendsgivingCranberryContest
  • Amplify through store blog posts and e-newsletters
  • Utilize social media-ready and print-ready promotional assets available from the Cranberry Marketing Committee

Encourage Shoppers to Buy One for Now and Two for the Freezer
An effective way to sell more fresh cranberries is to encourage customers to stock up while they are in season by buying one for now, two for the freezer. It drives greater sales and educates customers on how fresh cranberries can be frozen in their original packaging for up to one year and can be used the same way as fresh cranberries in recipes.

Give your Shoppers More Ways to Use Cranberries
Fresh cranberries are a versatile fruit that complement both savory and sweet dishes. Having them available at your stores invites multiple cross-merchandising opportunities with poultry during the holiday season, spirits to create festive cocktails, game meats to pair with tart sauces, and fresh produce to create fun and delicious side dishes.

In-store cooking demonstrations show customers how easy it is to prepare meals with cranberries and highlights their culinary versatility. Providing customers with the opportunity to taste a new dish and take home recipes promotes trial and purchase. Pairing demos with sales promotions of buy one, get one free or two for $5 are great ways to build excitement and interest.

Catch Shoppers’ Attention
Well-designed signage promoting “buy one for now, two for the freezer” drives interest and attention from customers. Supermarket shoppers, especially millennials, are looking for foods that promote health and have a great story – and cranberries speak to both of those interests. Displays including graphics, such as the America’s Original Superfruit® logo, and fresh cranberries in rustic, wooden crates reinforce these meaningful aspects of cranberries.

Talk Health
A serving of fresh cranberries is a good source of vitamin C and fiber, and provide antioxidant polyphenols.1,2 Including in-store registered dietitian endorsements on-shelf, helps communicate health messages and demonstrates to customers how cranberries can fit into a healthy diet.

Combine Efforts: Produce and Floral Departments Work Together
Take advantage of the cranberry’s bright-hued red color to grow your fresh cranberry sales by cross-promoting them with your floral department. Fresh cranberries can be used to adorn wreaths, bouquets, baskets, and they can be combined with other produce such as kale and colorful lettuces to create uniquely-themed arrangements. As a fruit that floats, they are the perfect addition to a floral arrangement in a glass vase!

Find Fresh Cranberry Distributers
To find a fresh cranberry supplier, visit OrderUSCranberries.com

References:
1. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service. 2014. USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, Release 27. Nutrient Data Laboratory Home Page.

2. Halvorsen, BL, Carlsen MH, Phillips KM, Bohn, SK, Holte K, Jacobs DR, and Blomho R. Content of redox-active compounds (ie, antioxidants) in foods consumed in the United States. Am J Clin Nutr. 2006;84:95-135.

USDA commits to $27.5 Million purchase of US-produced cranberry concentrate

100823183807_1_900x600A collaborative effort between cranberry industry stakeholders, USDA officials and the Cranberry Marketing Committee (CMC) has culminated in the commitment to a $27.5 Million purchase of cranberry concentrate through the USDA’s Section 32 Commodity Purchase Program.

The purchase is equivalent to 30 million pounds or 300,000 barrels of US-grown cranberries, and will benefit national nutritional assistance programs and other charitable institutions. These kinds of commodity purchases provide quality, wholesome, healthy foods to those in most need.

The USDA’s Food Purchase Program benefits American farmers who are supplying quality finished products and raw materials for USDA foods and, in turn, can continue to provide economic opportunities for their local communities. The agency will put out procurement notices for specific products in the next few months.

“We are grateful for the continued support of the USDA and appreciate the positive impact that this bonus buy has on our industry,” said CMC’s Executive Director Michelle Hogan.  “Additionally, we are excited that more consumers across the country will have access to America’s Original Superfruit®.”

US Cranberries Featured at South India’s Biggest Culinary and Mixology Competition

US Cranberries will have a prominent presence at the upcoming Food Hospitality World (FHW), Bengaluru show June 9-11 at the White Orchid Convention Center, Bengaluru.

The event will host South India’s biggest Culinary and Mixology Competition to highlight the usage and versatility of premium products like US Cranberries, Washington Apples, USA Pears, California Walnuts and U.S. Pecans as the main ingredient. This will be organized as a special event in concurrence with the “South India Culinary Challenge & Baking Contest” and “Mixology Challenge” in association with the South India Culinary Association (SICA). The competition will feature star hotel chefs and mixologists showcasing their exemplary skills. The contest will be judged in collaboration with SICA, reputed industry members and USDA representatives.

Talking about the initiative, Mr. Keith Sunderlal, India representative, Cranberry Marketing Committee, said: “We are thrilled to be associated with one of India’s largest professional trade shows in the food and hospitality industry. Our objective for the campaign is to expand awareness and knowledge of the availability, versatility and utilization techniques of US Cranberries, Washington Apples, USA Pears, California Walnuts, and U.S. Pecans in India. Through participation in FHW, the idea is to reach out to the trade and introduce them to the freshness, versatility and taste of U.S. premium agricultural products. Looking at the show’s past success, we are confident that we will be able to strike the right chord with our target audience.”

About Food Hospitality World
FHW is one of India’s largest professional trade show for trade & consumers in the food & hospitality industry. FHW is organized by two of the world’s biggest trade show organizers Deutsche Messe and Fiera Milano (HMFI) along with one of India’s largest publication house The Indian Express Limited. Previous year, the show witnessed 6,000 visitors, more than 250 exhibiting brands, more than 550 B2B meetings, more than 250 special event attendees.

About The SCS Group:
The SCS Agribusiness Consultants Pvt. Limited (referred to as THE SCS GROUP) is an agribusiness-consulting firm based in India providing services in the disciplines of marketing, logistics, strategy, policy, communications and training. The firm was established in 1998 with the conviction that the highly competitive global agricultural products’ trade scenario demands in-depth research, sophisticated marketing strategies and meticulous implementation.

Seeing red this summer and fall

Are you making travel plans for this summer and fall?  Mark your calendars and schedule some time to attend at least one of the following cranberry festivals taking place in #ucranberries growing regions.  Most take place in September and October, but the first one is coming up in early June… don’t miss out!

We sure do wish we could attend them all!  #cranberrygoals

WISCONSIN

Cranberry Blossom Festival
June 16-19, 2016
Wisconsin Rapids, WI
www.blossomfest.com

The annual Cranberry Blossom Festival celebrates the tiny, delicate flower that blooms on cranberry vines each summer. Enjoy live music, a parade, carnival, arts and crafts and a wide variety of culinary treats featuring Wisconsin cranberries.

Warrens Cranberry Festival
September 23-25, 2016
Warrens, WI
www.cranfest.com

Warrens Cranberry Festival – the world’s largest cranberry festival – is a three-day celebration of Wisconsin’s state fruit. Events include cranberry marsh tours, arts and crafts, antique and flea market, farmers market, food booths, a spaghetti feed, steak fry and pancake breakfast, a recipe contest, biggest berry contest, quilt block contest, needlework and quilt contest, photography contest and a gigantic parade.

Stone Lake Cranberry Festival
September 29 – October 1, 2016
Stone Lake, WI
www.stonelakecranberryfestival.com

The Stone Lake Cranberry Festival salutes the cranberry growing region in northwest Wisconsin. Events include wine tasting, cranberry bake-off contest, cranberry marsh tours, pancake breakfast, pie social and bake sale, crafts, a parade, live street entertainment and a Krate Derby.

Cran-A-Rama
October 1, 2016
Manitowish Waters, WI
www.manitowishwaters.org

Cran-A-Rama celebrates the start of fall color and cranberry harvest season. Evens include arts and craft fair, cranberry cooking contest, “Taste of Harvest” concessions featuring local restaurants and vendors, free cranberry marsh tours, free fall color Pontoon boat rides, bake sale, fresh cranberry sales, self-guided fall color tours, cranberry samples and more.

Eagle River Cranberry Festival
October 1-2, 2016
Eagle River, WI
www.eagleriver.org

The Eagle River Cranberry Festival has something for everyone. Events include a huge arts and craft show, the world’s largest cranberry cheesecake, cranberry cook-off, a fitness run/walk/bike tour, cranberry marsh and winery tours, farmers market, chainsaw carvings, fresh cranberry sales, antique market and much more!

MASSACHUSETTS

A.D. Makepeace Cranberry Harvest Celebration
October 8-9, 2016
Wareham, MA
http://www.seeplymouth.com/events/13th-annual-cranberry-harvest-celebration

Enjoy a New England tradition and see the beauty of the cranberry harvest during this old-fashioned family festival! The Celebration has been designated as one of the top 100 events in North America by the American Bus Association!

Harwich Cranberry Arts & Music Festival
September 17-18, 2016
Harwich, MA
http://www.harwichcranberryfestival.org/hcf-2016-5-14_005.htm

This two-day event held in Brooks Park features 130 different vendors selling handmade craft items. Entry, parking and even the music festival are FREE!

Nantucket Cranberry Festival
October 8, 2016
Nantucket, MA
https://www.nantucketconservation.org/activities/cranberry-festival/

Come out to the Festival grounds and watch the berries being harvested, learn about the history of cranberry farming on Nantucket, participate in the family activities or just kick back and enjoy the music and the spectacular autumn scenery of one of the most unique and beautiful places on the Island.

OREGEON

70th Annual Cranberry Festival
September  9-11, 2016
Bandon, OR
http://bandon.com/cranberry-festival/

We promise entertainment for the whole family at the parade, festival market, and street dance. Cranberry cooks compete for a culinary crown in the Queen of the Kitchen food fair, while hungry festival goers dive into the cranberry eating contest to win prizes. Farmers and artisans strut their stuff at Cranberry City and the Festival Market. Live music, from rock ‘n’ roll to classic country, will keep you hummin’ all weekend.

WASHINGTON 

Cranberry Harvest Festival
October 8-9, 2016
Grayland, WA
http://westportgrayland-chamber.org/calendar.php

Bog tours, Cranberry cook off, and firelight parade

Annual Cranberrian Fair
October 8-9
Ilwaco, WA
http://columbiapacificheritagemuseum.com/cranberrian-fair/

A celebration of local harvest including all things cranberry will take place on the Long Beach Peninsula, centered around the Columbia Pacific Heritage Museum. Foods, crafters, vendors, and more will showcase the area’s rich heritage during the Annual Cranberrian Fair.

NEW JERSEY 

The Chatsworth Cranberry Festival
October 15-16, 2016
Chatsworth, NJ
http://www.cranfest.org/Chatsworth_Cranberry_Festival/Welcome.html

The Cranberry Festival is a celebration of New Jersey’s cranberry harvest, and offers a tribute to the Pine Barrens & Local Culture.  The main attraction is the diverse showing of many artists & craftsmen,some of which will also be demonstrating their crafts as well as displaying them for sale.

Cranberry Fest
October 1-2, 2016
Bordentown City, NJ
http://downtownbordentown.com/event-details.php?eid=286

This two day event features over 145 crafters offering hand made, vintage and upcycled items for the home, handmade clothing and so much more. Bordentown’s award-winning restaurants offer a wide assortment of tasty treats – from snacks to full meals.

 

Did we miss an upcoming cranberry event?  Let us know and we’ll add it to the list!

Cranberries are superfood of the month in April

The Cranberry Marketing Committee (CMC) is pleased to announce its partnership with Compass Group to feature cranberries as the superfood of the month in April 2016. Compass Group, one of the world’s largest foodservice management companies, will feature cranberries in many of its U.S. facilities, which include school and university dining centers, business cafés, healthcare facilities and more. As America’s Original Superfruit®, cranberries are a bold fruit that add flavor, color and texture to sweet and savory dishes. Cranberries also offer unique polyphenols not commonly found in other fruits, and a serving of fresh cranberries is a good source of vitamin C and fiber.1,2

Accompanying the superfood promotion is a Yes, You Cran! Sweepstakes. Through April 30, participating Compass Group locations will be displaying promotional cranberry signage and serving cranberry recipes within their facilities. Guests are invited to enter the sweepstakes by taking a photo of one of these cranberry promotions, including cranberry posters, signs, recipe cards, sampling events, demonstrations or dishes, and posting it on Twitter or Instagram with the hashtag, #YesYouCranSweepstakes. A total of 20 weekly prize winners will each receive a $100 gift card. One of the winners from week four will be randomly selected and win a prize for their facility that consists of a catered cranberry celebration. For more information on contest rules, visit http://www.uscranberries.com.

“We love that Compass is able to shine a spotlight on cranberries during what some may consider the off season. Cranberries are a versatile fruit that can provide unique health benefits to consumers all year long,” said CMC Executive Director Michelle Hogan. “And we’re particularly eager to reinforce this message across school cafeterias, since cranberries count toward the school foodservice fruit servings required for the National School Lunch Program.”

About the Cranberry Marketing Committee
The CMC was established as a Federal Marketing Order in 1962 to ensure a stable, orderly supply of good quality product. Authority for its actions are provided under Chapter IX, Title 7, Code of Federal Regulations, referred to as the Federal Cranberry Marketing Order, which is part of the Agricultural Marketing Agreement Act of 1937, as amended. This Act specifies cranberries as a commodity that may be covered, regulations that may be issued, and guidelines for administering the programs, and privileges and limitations granted by Congress. For more information about the CMC, visit uscranberries.com. Follow at twitter.com/uscranberries and facebook.com/cranbecravers.

About Compass Group
Based in Charlotte NC, Compass Group North America is the leading foodservice management and support services company with $14.5 billion (£9.4 billion) in revenues in 2015. Compass Group USA was recently named one of America’s 500 Best Employers by Forbes, ranking as the highest contract food and business support services company. With over 500,000 associates worldwide, its parent company, UK-based Compass Group PLC, was named the 6th largest publicly traded employer in the world by USA Today and had revenues of £17.8 billion in the fiscal year ending September 30, 2015.

References:
1) U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service. 2014. USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, Release 27. Nutrient Data Laboratory Home Page.
2) Halvorsen BL, Carlsen MH, Phillips KM, Bohn SK, Holte K, Jacobs DR, and Blomho R. Content of redox-active compounds (ie, antioxidants) in foods consumed in the United States. Am J Clin Nutr. 2006;84:95-135.

Cranberry Friendsgiving Photo Contest Winner Announced

CWCYXwqXIAM-qC2Hundreds of creative cranberry recipe and décor entries were received in the Cranberry Marketing Committee’s first-ever Cranberry Friendsgiving Photo Contest, but only one social media maven brought home the prize. Laura Podlich (@lpodlich) of Madison, WI, was declared the $2,000 grand prize winner for her unique cranberry apple galette submission.

Cranberries have long had a place at the Thanksgiving table, but America’s Original Superfruit® is also a star at any Friendsgiving feast – a millennial-driven trend of celebrating with close friends and family either on Thanksgiving or the weeks before or after. In honor of this new American tradition, the Cranberry Marketing Committee (CMC) launched the 2015 Cranberry Friendsgiving Photo Contest inviting millennials to feature the versatility of cranberries during their Friendsgiving festivities. From October 26, 2015 through December 14, 2015, millennials were asked to share their cranberry creations on social media with the hashtag #FriendsgivingCranberryContest, and then submit their entries on CranberryFriendsgiving.com, for a chance to win the grand prize of $2,000 toward their next dinner party.

Submissions were judged based on taste appeal or décor attractiveness, originality, creativity and social media value and Podlich’s entry came out on top. Podlich, founder of Beauty & the Beard, a lifestyle blog featuring DIY projects, recipes, holiday guides and snippets of life in the Midwest, created a unique cranberry apple galette for her Friendsgiving feast.

“I love using cranberries in all parts of the meal,” said Podlich. “My favorite way to use cranberries at Friendsgiving is to freeze a bunch of them and put them in whatever cocktails I end up serving – they are festive, useful, and delicious. Besides that, since Wisconsin is the leading producer of cranberries in the United States, I wanted to represent my state. I love cooking with cranberries because of their tart pop; they can cut through the sweetest cocktails and balance the richness in any dessert.”

The contest yielded hundreds of entries including sweet and savory cranberry recipes, as well as inventive cranberry décor from Friendsgiving-celebrators nationwide. Photo submissions ranged from cranberry stuffed squash and cranberry mimosas, to white chocolate cranberry pound cake and handcrafted cranberry place settings.

“We were very excited to see the creativity behind the delicious cranberry recipes and beautiful decorations we received from millennials across the nation,” said Michelle Hogan, executive director of the Cranberry Marketing Committee. “The response was overwhelming and we look forward to making this an annual tradition.”