How long have you been practicing the timeless tradition of growing food and raising animals? My parents come from farming backgrounds, but I am…
How long have you been practicing the traditional art of growing cranberries and making cranberry products?
Cranberries have been in our family for over 80 years! Our farm, Edgewood Bogs, started in the early 1940’s in SouthEastern Massachusetts, known as “Cranberry Country”. Cape Cod Select was formed in 2009 by Cindy Rhodes to bring whole frozen cranberries to consumers year round and be the retail line of our family’s cranberries. Now Cape Cod Select offers a variety of frozen items (frozen cranberries and delicious smoothie blends!) and seasonal items (Fresh cranberries, Gift Boxes and our own jarred Cranberry Chutney).
What (or who) inspired you to learn this skill? It’s a funny story, before our family got into cranberries they were actually in the wooden box business and when they were clearing trees for lumber they stumbled upon wild cranberries. And as the saying goes “the rest is history” and cranberries became the Rhodes’ Family business. A mix of family and a great mentor helped current owner, Matthew Rhodes learn the ropes of cranberry farming and now Matthew’s three sons, James, Jarrod and Patrick are all involved in the businesses as well.
What do you most enjoy about tending to a cranberry bog?
We enjoy that it’s a family business. At times that can be difficult and we butt heads but overall it’s a fun experience and it’s really satisfying growing a crop that is enjoyed by consumers from all over the world. Our cranberries have been shipped to Singapore, New Zealand, England, the Caribbean Islands, across the US and more.
Cranberries are known to have many health benefits and versatility of use. What variety do you grow and what encourages you to play a part in preserving their heritage?
We grow a variety of cranberries. Howes and Early Blacks are best for our fresh line of cranberries and gift boxes. Early Blacks are an old variety of cranberry and a popular variety in Massachusetts due to so many old cranberry bogs in this area. They are often referred to as an heirloom variety. We also grow larger berry varieties such as Stevens and Haines that we use for our frozen line. They are nice plump berries that have great uniform color and grow beautifully. At Cape Cod Select we promote a healthy lifestyle and staying true to our values we provide whole natural cranberries year round with our frozen line allowing consumers to get the health benefits of cranberries year round.
Can you share a little bit about the growing practices you focus on that enhance the flavor and texture of your ever-so-popular cranberries?
Our cranberries are grown to the highest quality standards in the industry, Global G.A.P (Good Agricultural Practices). Edgewood Bogs was actually the first cranberry grower in the US to get Global GAP certification many moons ago! It is a voluntary, strict growing standard and we are audited each year to ensure proper practices are being followed. We take pride in our growing practices on our sustainable farm. Over the last ten to fifteen years we have been updating our bogs to be more efficient and have installed solar. Using less water during the spring and harvest season as well as powering our facility with solar power helps us keep our environmental impact low. From bog to bag our cranberries are handled with the utmost care and we believe it shows in our products.
What does the process of harvesting cranberries from bog-to-bag look like from start to finish?
Cranberries are perennial meaning they come back year after year. The vines begin to “wake up” in March and go through a long growing season from March until September. During this time our team is taking care of the bogs and making sure the best possible crop is being grown. October kicks off harvest season for us where we are working 7 days a week, day shift and a night shift for about six to eight crazy weeks. The cranberries are harvested and brought to our packing facility where they are sorted, cleaned and packaged to ensure only the best berries end up in our customers hands! We continue running our facility until about mid December when we run out of fruit! We harvest about 5 million pounds of cranberries in this short time. To say we are busy is an understatement!
What quality products do you make from your sustainably grown and environmentally friendly cranberries?
We have quite a few products now! Our frozen line consists of our original whole frozen cranberries, Power Berry Blend which is a mix of whole frozen cranberries, blackberries, blueberries and raspberries, Tropical Blend containing whole frozen cranberries, pineapple, mango and banana, and our Blueberry Blend which is whole frozen cranberries and blueberries. These blends make delicious smoothies! They can be found in grocery retailers nationwide.
We also offer fresh cranberries during the harvest season. They can be purchased online at www.capecodselect.com and come as a 2 pack (2 -2lb bags of fresh cranberries) or they can be purchased in some retail stores like Harris Teeter and some Whole Foods locations currently. This makes a great gift! We also offer our fresh cranberries in bulk to many wineries, breweries, bakeries and more.
Our gift box line is also available during the harvest season and holiday season. A popular option we have is our 3lb wooden gift box. It comes with 3lbs of fresh cranberries in a small wooden keepsake box. All of our specialty gift boxes include 2lbs of fresh cranberries and a variety of products to create themed boxes like our Breakfast Box, Recipe Box, Farm Box and more. Our newest product is our 10oz jar of Cranberry Chutney. This comes as a 2 pack and ships nationwide like all of our gift boxes.
For those who are discovering you for the first time, where do you sell your cranberry products?
Our frozen products are sold nationwide in roughly 6,000 grocery retailers. To name a few major retailers – Meijer, Vons, Stop and Shop, Shaws, Market Basket, Harris Teeter, Big Y, some Whole Foods locations, Lowes, Ingles, Lucky’s, Raley’s, Safeway Albertsons, and many more! If your local store doesn’t carry us, we do ship nationwide. They can be ordered on Amazon or directly from our website.
Our fresh cranberries and gift boxes can be purchased on our website www.capecodselect.com from the end of October through mid-December while supplies last.
Cranberries are no longer exclusively bought during the holidays thanks to cranberry farms such as yours. More and more consumers are being educated about their health benefits and year-round availability. What would you say sets Cape Cod Select Cranberries apart from the rest and a first choice for families looking to add them to their daily meal planning?
Our mission has always been providing whole natural cranberries year round to consumers. Before owner, Cindy Rhodes started Cape Cod Select there were essentially no options for fresh frozen cranberries in grocery stores. Cindy made it her mission to get these healthy berries into consumer’s hands year round! Knocking on local grocery retailers and slowly getting into one store at a time – the grocery buyers were skeptical saying cranberries were a holiday fruit and it would never be more than that – with determination, Cape Cod Select frozen cranberries are now in over 6000 grocery stores nationwide and actually have higher sales in quarter one than quarter four. Proving that these berries are more than just a holiday fruit.
What truly sets Cape Cod Select apart from other cranberry companies is our growing practices, certifications, and our extra care we put into our sorting, cleaning and packaging. As I mentioned before we grow to Global G.A.P standards and take extra steps to ensure our cranberries are truly the best on the market. Our frozen products are great for smoothies – with no added sugar, zero preservatives and zero additives, our fruits are what we serve our family and are proud to provide to families across the US. Adding cranberries into your daily diet is as easy as adding a handful in your smoothie, sauteed with veggies, or made into a yummy homemade cranberry sauce and spread onto a sandwich, spooned into yogurt or of course as a side with your pork, poultry or even salmon! Cranberries are so versatile.
What additional resources or supplies do you recommend for those interested in learning the traditional skill or growing cranberries and preserving cranberry traditions through culinary use?
At this time we do not offer public tours of our bogs, we simply do not have the staff to run it but we’d like to one day! In the meantime, you can learn more about growing and harvesting cranberries by following us on social media @CapeCodSelect – you can visit our website www.capecodselect.com or visit www.cranberries.org for more information too.
As for cooking with cranberries – we have many recipes on our website and Pinterest page. A few of our all time favorite recipes are our Cranberry Squares, Cranberry Chutney, and of course a Cranberry Smoothie. We’re always adding more recipes too.
What is the name of your Farm, Ranch or Homestead?
Our farm is Edgewood Bogs LLC. Edgewood Bogs started in the 1940’s and is owned and operated by 4th generation farmers. Cape Cod Select was formed in 2009 to be the retail brand of our family’s products.
Where are you located?
Carver, MA – “The heart of cranberry country”.
How and/or when did life as a farmer, rancher or homesteader begin for you?
Edgewood Bogs has been owned and operated by the Rhodes family since the early 1940’s. In 2005, Matthew and Cindy Rhodes purchased the bogs from family members and made it what it is today. Being an independent grower Edgewood Bogs needed a way to stand out and separate themselves from the competition. In 2009, Cindy created Cape Cod Select to be the retail brand of Edgewood Bogs cranberries and bring whole frozen cranberries to market year round.
What do you grow/ and or raise?
Edgewood Bogs and Cape Cod Select grow cranberries.
Do you have a favorite farm recipe you wish to share that is made all the more delicious with your cranberry varieties?
Our Cranberry Squares are our go to recipe we bring to every gathering! They are so delicious and easy to make! They may not be the healthiest option but life’s about balance! A little treat here and there is good for the soul!
What is at least one farm tradition you uphold?
A lot of growers no longer dry harvest cranberries. We continue to dry harvest our cranberries that we use in our fresh cranberry line to keep the quality of the cranberries. It’s a lot more work and people power than wet harvest but we keep with the tradition to provide a better cranberry for our customers.
What inspires you to continue a farm lifestyle?
Cranberries have been a part of our family for generations and we hope the next generations continue the lifestyle but we also understand that it’s not for everyone. We’ve been blessed that our three sons have continued the tradition and all have a love for the business. They inspire us to keep growing and going. We hope the business we’ve built continues to provide for our family for generations to come.
What words of inspiration or uplifting wisdom do you hope to impart on future generations of farmers, growers, and homesteaders?
Each crop is a blessing or a lesson learned. Plan ahead and continue to grow and diversify to stay relevant with the best growing practices. Don’t be afraid of change but stay true to your roots. Take time to reflect on WHY you are doing this.
Where can people find you/your farm products online?
Our frozen line of cranberries and frozen blends are available nationwide in grocery retailers.
Seasonal products (fresh cranberries and gift boxes) can be found at www.capecodselect.com right now!
Our frozen cranberries can also be found on our website and Amazon and shipped directly to your door!