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Lunch with Governor RaimondoIn a day filled with white lab coats, hard hats, and hairnets, Governor Charlie Baker visited two Massachusetts businesses that have been vital contributors to our state’s unique and vibrant economy. Ocean Spray Cranberries and Garelick Farms, two companies that originated in Massachusetts, produce several products that we see lining the shelves of nearly every grocery store, not only within the state but also across the country. However, before visiting both these thriving businesses, Baker joined Rhode Island Governor, Gina Raimondo, for lunch.

“He had the meatballs, I had the veal. It was delicious,” said Governor Raimondo after she and Governor Baker shared a meal as part of a friendly bet concerning the Division I College Hockey National Championship that occurred back in April between Providence College and Boston University. If BU won, Raimondo would visit Baker in Boston, but if PC won, Baker would visit Raimondo in Providence. Providence stunned Boston 4 to 3, so Baker found himself treating Raimondo to lunch at a favorite Providence eatery, Angelo’s Restaurant.

In Middleboro, Baker toured the Ocean Spray Cranberries Processing Plant along with Lakeville’s Representative, Keiko Orrall. Both Baker and Orrall got an inside look at how nearly 500,000 pounds of cranberries are transformed into 250,000 pounds of craisins each day. The plant, which has been around for 49 of Ocean Spray’s 85 years, processes more than 65 million pounds of cranberries each year, producing cranberry and other flavored juices, cranberry sauces, fresh fruit, dried cranberries, and more. Although cranberry harvesting is still a few months away, Baker toured the factory to learn more about cranberry processing, the machinery used, and the people behind the practice. While snacking on the plentiful samples of craisins and cranberry juice that Ocean Spray provided, Baker promised he would return to the company in a few months to take part in the harvesting process, which does indeed take place in a bog.

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Governor Baker was joined by Ocean Spray Cranberries President and CEO Randy Papadellis (left), State Representative Keiko Orrall of Lakeville, and Mike Stamatakos, Vice President of Operations at Ocean Spray Cranberries.

Baker took his bag of craisins on the road as he traveled to Norfolk County to visit Garelick Farms, where he learned how milk was processed, packaged, and labeled. This particular facility in Franklin has been in operation for more than 80 years since the founding of the company. Today, Garelick Farms employs over 1,600 people and has expanded to four facilities across the Northeast—two of which are in Massachusetts (Franklin and Lynn). Baker toured the facility, learning about the several different types of products that Garelick Farms produces, including white milks, flavored milks, juices, creams, and more. On his way out, Baker was even treated to a bowl of Garelick Farms’ homemade ice cream.

Garelick Farms

Towards the end of the day, Governor Baker visited Plainville to observe the Operation Swift Response training organized by the Plymouth County Technical Rescue Team and others. During the two-day training period, local rescue teams learned and practiced how to retrieve trapped victims in various situations, not only using their accessible tools and means of transportation—such as Black Hawk Helicopters—but also utilizing vital teamwork skills. Baker observed a portion of the second day of training and got a first-hand look at how local rescue teams continue to protect our Commonwealth.

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