Before getting into the cranberry business, my great-great grandfather was a potato farmer who lived off the land. It has always been that way in our family. Be one with the land, experience nature, and do what you enjoy. For me, that's growing cranberries. Every day brings something different, whether it's waking up early to protect the berries from the spring frost, flooding the bog for the harvest, or trading stories with the team. Growing cranberries is just what I do. And I'm proud of that.
The Garretsons are a fifth-generation cranberry farming family. Gary and his wife, Joan, raised two daughters, Megan and Heather, on their 200+ acre farm. More than 35 years ago, Gary assumed responsibility for his grandfather’s farm, Slocum-Gibbs Cranberry Company, which was founded in 1919. Gary initially earned a business degree and spent time in manufacturing, but the cranberries called him back. Now, Megan and Heather’s children spend time on the farm learning about cranberries, as well as the land and wildlife that support the ecosystem.
Cranberry farming runs deep in The Gilmore Family heritage. Sue is not only a descendant of the A.D. Makepeace family, one of the founding families of Ocean Spray, but she also owns and operates Gilmore Cranberry Company, which she established in 1979 with her beloved late husband Ben Gilmore, a second generation grower. Her daughters, Alison and Abbie, grew up helping to care for the farm. They cherish early childhood memories of frost nights with their father and tasting the crisp cranberries on the farm during each harvest.
Today, Sue’s five grandchildren comprise the family's seventh generation of cranberry farmers and will become the new stewards of the farm. “As a family, we try to produce the best fruit possible, from the blossoms to growing it in the summer, to seeing the fruits of your labor during the harvest,” shared Sue. “It’s a livelihood and a lifestyle that we grew up with and there’s nothing else we’d rather be doing.”
Jeff LaFleur and his wife, Kim, are first-generation cranberry farmers on a 112-acre farm in Massachusetts. They have two sons, ages 16 and 3, whom they hope will take over the family business someday. The LaFleurs’ farm provides a great venue for agricultural tourism; Jeff and Kim host visitors from around the world to fully experience the cranberry harvest by donning waders in the bog to help harvest the crop. Before becoming a cranberry farmer, Jeff served as the Executive Director at the Cape Cod Cranberry Growers Association.
Massachusetts cranberry farmers, the Mollor family, started growing the crop more than 30 years ago. Stanley and Linda own Kravitz-Mollor Cranberries, operating six cranberry farms, with their daughter Adrienne, her husband, Chuck, and son, Spencer. Farming is in their DNA: Stan’s parents owned a farm with 10,000 chickens and raised their children there. Adrienne grew up farming cranberries, corn, and pumpkins, and raising livestock, including sheep, cows and chickens. The family now teaches Adrienne’s young son about the farming way of life. As the family’s third generation of cranberry growers, he even has an Ocean Spray bog in his name!
Ocean Spray Grower-Owner Iain Ward is a first-generation farmer who has been growing cranberries for more than a decade in Massachusetts. Along with his wife, Christine, Iain operates an agricultural consulting business, works on the family’s cranberry bogs and enjoys teaching his two young children about life on the farm. Before becoming a farmer, Iain wrote conservation farm plans for cranberry growers. He became so interested in cranberries that he left the job to work for a fellow Ocean Spray Grower-Owner! Soon after, Iain purchased his own bogs. The rest is history!
Gary Weston, a fifth-generation cranberry farmer, says that cranberries are in his blood. His childhood growing up on the farm and weeding the crop for pocket change inspired him to continue the tradition of growing cranberries. He has owned and operated more than 100 acres of Massachusetts cranberry bogs since 1986 when he joined Ocean Spray. Gary and his wife, Cheryl, have three grown children, and their son continues to work part-time to help the family business. They always look for new ways to grow the best fruit they can!