Seasonal Employment With Massachusetts Ocean Spray
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Seasonal Employment With Massachusetts Ocean Spray

Cranberry harvest season is under way in Massachusetts from September to November or the second week of December at the latest. Seasonal employment processing fresh cranberries is physical but rewarding labor. Ocean Spray processes harvested cranberries from the co-op growers. Ocean Spray employees do not work in the bogs. The season is short but worthwhile due to overtime. Ten to thirteen weeks fly by.

It has been awhile since the United States 2010 Census. No jobs have been available in this area since then. Reaching the end of my sanity led me to one final prayer for work.

My prayers have been answered. My friend called me last Tuesday to inform me she is going to Ocean Spray to apply for work, how soon can I be ready? I was ready in half an hour.

We made the half hour trip up the highway to Ocean Spray Headquarters in Middleboro, MA. After filling out the application and providing 2 forms of ID, we were instructed to return at 9 am the following morning for orientation for a job at the Carver location. Although we could have started working immediately that afternoon, we decided to wait until the next morning.

Ocean Spray does not grow the cranberries or any of the other fruits it uses. Fruit is provided through co-op contracts with local farmers and trucking firms. A seasonal job with Ocean Spray is in processing the berries from the bogs for their many uses. The season runs from September through the first week of December at the latest. Weather and growing conditions dictate the length of the season.

For employees the season is an economic boon. Ocean Spray offers ten to thirteen weeks or the monetary earnings equivalent needed to qualify for collecting unemployment after the season is over. The hourly rate the first year is slightly above minimum wage but the abundance of available overtime makes up for it. Drug testing is required as part of the application process and during employment.

The second year sees a pay increase of almost $2.00 an hour. The Middleboro plant has a 90-98% employee return rate. Several return employees travel across country to take advantage of this seasonal job. Seasonal bosses can make almost a full year's income by earning well over $1,000 per week in higher hourly rates and required overtime as well as an extended season.

The work itself is strenuous on the body. Most of the positions require you to stand on a cement floor for 10-16 hours a day for 5-7 days a week. The safety required steel-toed shoes take a couple of weeks to get used to. By the end of the first day these shoes feel like cement blocks that could easily hold you down if you were to be thrown into the water. Wearing double pairs of white socks keep the feet from blistering as well as wicking away sweat that could cause bacterial and fungal infections. Gold Bond powder keeps the feet cooler and keeps away foot odor.

The Carver plant strictly handles wet harvested berries. Most of the berries we are handling will go to making Craisins in 6 months or so. Middleboro processes dry harvest berries that turn up in the familiar bags in the produce section of your local grocery store as well as the famous Ocean Spray Cranberry Juice and blends. 

Five weeks into the season, my body is becoming accustomed to the physical strain. It is like having a personal trainer pushing you at the gym for 8-16 hours a day. Best part is being paid for it.

Ocean Spray is very safety conscious and strives to reduce, reuse and recycle. Water is reprocessed through their own water plant. Unusable berries are turned into compost bins for use on the property. Live critters such as frogs, turtles, snakes and lizards that come in with the berries are put in a special aquarium until they can be returned to a natural habitat. There is absolutely no smoking anywhere on the grounds.

A unique incentive is offered by Ocean Spray. Returning employees can recommend others for employment. If the new employee completes the rest of the season, the sponsor will receive an extra $50 in their last paycheck of the season. New applicants need to mention the name of the person that recommended them when they apply in person or online. My name is Irene Nevins from Fairhaven who works at the Carver, Massachusetts plant. Thank you in advance.

Many of us also carpool to save on gas and keep each other motivated to complete the season. This is definitely a seasonal job I will repeat.

Note: Season 2 for me is now underway. It is nice to note that my 60-year-old body retained most of the tone from last year's workout making the work easier. Starting pay at Carver is ~$2.00/h higher than minimum wage and ~$3.00 higher for returning workers. The pay alone will definitely increase the rate of returning workers to the Carver Ocean Spray Plant for seasonal employment.

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Comments (6)

Good for you and I enjoyed the article..voted

Wow, thanks for sharing this information.

Thanks for posting this interesting article

I am glad you were able to find work.

Congrats in findin work and I wouldn't mind doing this either.

In this tight economy, I attempt to share employment opportunities. You are free to use my name as your sponsor even though it has no bearing on why I wrote the article. Ocean Spray has facilities in several states as well as foreign countries. Check with your local plants for seasonal work. Thank you.