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Ocean Spray 'absolutely committed to fresh'

Although it recently lost one of its larger fresh cranberry growers, Ocean Spray Cranberries Inc. is "absolutely committed to fresh and is very much in a growth mindset, and we plan for that to continue," Chris Phillips, a spokesperson for the Lakeville-Middleboro, MA-based cooperative, told The Produce News Feb. 20.

When asked about the departure of Tomah, WI-based Habelman Bros. Co. and the loss of the substantial volume it supplied the cooperative, Mr. Phillips said, "We're leap years beyond and looking to the future. We sold nearly 1 million cases last year and have plans in place for the same -- if not more -- this year."

Mr. Phillips said that Ocean Spray has "locked in with customers" and its growers -- which number about 650, according to its web site -- will continue to supply them with the same quality berries that they have come to expect from the firm.

Some of that additional supply will more than likely come from its additional fresh acreage in Quebec, where it recently built a state-of-the-art refrigerated packing facility.

"Fresh cranberries are our signature item and define our company," he said. "That piece of fruit connects to products in other aisles, and we will lead the charge on fresh cranberries. We are more focused than I have ever seen in my 20 years at Ocean Spray."

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