Vincent Cranberries and the “Other Brother”
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If you ask Ty and Tim “the other brother” Vincent what they’re doing, they might in a complete deadpan say, “We have no idea.” They might say, “Not near what we want to.” Or, “Hoping.”
Those statements may have some truth to them, but they aren’t the truth. Ty and Tim, along with the majority of the Vincent family, are reinvigorating the Oregon cranberry market by developing value-added, honest products out of the sweet, tart fruit they’ve been growing on their family land in Bandon, Ore., since 1957.
In the past year and a half, the brothers have developed and gone to market with a fresh cranberry juice that is at minimum 60% cranberry juice (many commercially sold cranberries juices are less than 10% actual cranberry).
“The ingredients on most of those juices don’t match the front of the bottles,” says Tim Vincent, who lives in Portland, Ore. “Our juice is honest. Our palm cranberry is 94% cranberry. Three pounds of cranberries are used to make the 32 ounce bottle of juice.”
The Vincents began selling their juice at Portland Farmer’s Markets, but soon found themselves placing bottles on the shelves of New Seasons and Zupans. In less than a year they gained access to more than 170 stores in four different states. That growth is continuing.
“Within the next 45 days, we will be in more than 400 stores,” says Ty Vincent, the operation’s primary farmer. “In talking about our Oregon berries, Tim coined the phrase, ‘the Napa Valley of cranberries’ and it’s true. We grow a unique berry, and people are tasting that in our juice.”
The Vincents were nominated for Edible Portland’s Best Beverage Artisan in 2010, and in 2011 they won it.
“What they’re doing is really remarkable,” says Linda White, OSU Extension cranberry specialist in Coos County, Ore. “They are taking what in many way’s is low value land, and their producing nutritional food over the long term.”
Currently, the Vincents are working with OSU Extension toward certification by the Food Alliance, and with White they are developing practices to become one of only a few certified organic cranberry farms in the state.
“There are about 15 acres total of organic cranberry being grown in the state,” says White. If the Vincents convert that number would triple.