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Juicing the Co-op Movement

MAY 2022

The versatile cranberry. (Photo Courtesy: Pixabay)

Marcus Urann preferred to tromp through cranberry bogs than practice law. Think of that every time you wheel your cart down the juice aisle of a supermarket. The Maine native developed a canning process to preserve cooked cranberries year-round, instead of typical fresh harvest that lasted from September to November. He also was the first to derive juice from cranberries, earning the nickname of “The Cranberry King.”

In 1930, Urann joined with John Makepeace and Elizabeth Lee, two other prominent, independent cranberry growers to form a single cooperative that we know today as Ocean Spray. The co-op’s first product was jellied cranberry sauce and the product line took off from there.

More than 700 cranberry growers in the United States, Canada and Chile own Ocean Spray, which is one of the largest agriculture-based co-ops in the country and the 24th largest co-op overall in the U.S., according to the National Cooperative Bank. Based in Lakeville, Mass., Ocean Spray’s latest initiative is a partnership with technology company Canomiks to test and certify the fruit’s positive effect on heart health.