The latest totally new world-class apple packing plant in the Pacific Northwest opened this fall on the southwestern edge of Union Gap, just south of Yakima. Borton Fruit Co. is operating a 500,000-plus square-foot facility that cost well over $40 million.
“This is the platform for our growth and success out into the future with food safety features, innovative technology and efficiencies that enable us to run three times the apple volume with the same amount of labor,” said Eric Borton, the company’s director of business development and a fourth-generation family member. That’s about 200 people in packing, shipping and inventory control at the new plant when it’s in full production, he said.
While some companies lack sufficient apple volume to service their debt on recently constructed packing lines, he said Borton Fruit Co. is carefully avoiding that by having the volume to maximize the new plant’s capacity.
Production has been gradually shifting this fall from the company’s old main plant near the original family orchard to the new facility.
While the new facility is not significantly larger than the old one in square footage, added storage, increased packing speed, new technology and automation provide efficiencies for notable cost savings, Borton said.