Made on Cape Cod: Cape Cod Cranberry Harvest
Cape Cod Cranberry Harvest owners and friends Tina Labossiere and Debbie Greiner started making jellies more than 15 years ago.
“Debbie and I met through a mutual friend in the Harwich play group when our boys were just 3 years of age--they are now 19, and started a business together soon after” says Tina Labossiere of her now business partner Debbie Greiner.
Their journeys were not direct to small business ownership. Labossiere has a background in banking and Grenier once worked for the Philadelphia Stock Exchange. They both moved to Cape Cod with their husbands who were pursuing careers, and have lived here, raising their eight children between them, for over twenty years.
Their first business venture together was making Ballerina Bunnies- “they were cute stuffed bunnies that we would sew with different tutu's and costumes,” says Labossiere. After an acquaintance told the two of them they should make a food product for a craft show, they developed their first batch of homemade cranberry jellies, and Cape Cod Cranberry Harvest was born.
According to Labossiere, they “sold out of what we made the first day and had to make more for the second day....after a few more years of making bunnies and jelly, it became apparent that the jelly was going to be our future.”
The first product under the Cape Cod Cranberry Harvest brand was the red pepper jelly. Made with red and jalapeno peppers, it offers a kick for the spice lover, and Labossiere and Greiner say it is best served over cream cheese with crackers.
Currently, Cape Cod Cranberry Harvest, offers twenty one flavors year round, and beach plum seasonally. They are developing new flavors all the time and usually make a few new products each year. While experimenting a lot in the kitchen,”we might say, 'I wonder how cranberry-something would taste?'” And some of their ideas are suggested by their customers, family, and friends.
Their typical work day starts with loading the dish washer with jars and sterilizing them. They then prepare all of their other materials, such as sugar, pots, pectin, and prepare the berries by chopping them in the chopper. The ingredients are placed in one of the four pots on the stove. Greiner prepares the pots for cooking and Labossiere fills the jars with the jelly once it is boiled and ready. The jars are then left to cool. Once they are cooled and the jelly is set, Greiner puts the label on them.
They spend a lot of time selling their goods themselves at farmers markets, craft shows and festivals. Cape Cod Cranberry Harvest can also be found in about 50 retail locations, year round and seasonally. On the Cape the jellies are sold at Cape Cod Beer in Hyannis, the 1856 General Store in Centerville, CapeAbilities Farm and Farm to Table, Lambert's in Centerville, Harvest of Barnstable in South Yarmouth, and all Shaw's Supermarkets on the Cape as well as in their Wareham location. support.
Both Labossiere and Greiner find their business really rewarding and they are grateful for all of the success they have had, but it is not without its challenges. “Neither one of us have ever owned a business, so we have made some mistakes along the way,” says Labossiere, “but thankfully, we have learned from them and moved forward.”
One constant challenge is how to remain a “small” business while their business continues to grow. The customers “expect a homemade product, made with all natural ingredients and small batches,” and they always strive to make their customers satisfied.