The fruit processor Tree Top, Inc., has opened a new facility for processing fresh-sliced apples at its main location in Selah, Washington, and has closed down its plant in Milton-Freewater, Oregon, where it used to slice the apples.
Laura Prisc, corporate communications manager, said the Milton-Freewater facility used to house a blanched-frozen line and a cherry processing line, as well as the fresh-cut line. The aging facility could not be expanded and was not on the company’s normal traffic routes. In the case of fresh slices, the product was shipped from the Wenatchee or Yakima areas of Washington State to Milton-Freewater for processing and packaging, and the finished product was hauled back to Selah for distribution.
The blanched-frozen line was moved to Tree Top’s Wenatchee plant, and the cherry processing line was moved to Prosser, Washington. The company plans to sell the Milton-Freewater facility, Prisc said. The company’s fresh-sliced apple business has been growing, and the new facility provides scope for expansion, she said. When running at full capacity, it will employ 40 people.
Tree Top supplies slices to 550 McDonald’s outlets in the Pacific Northwest and Alaska in individual servings for Apple Dippers and in three-pound clamshells for McDonald’s apple and walnut salad. It also supplies grapes in clamshells for the apple and walnut salad. In addition, Tree Top supplies slices to retail and wholesale clubs, hospitals, school districts, and other foodservice outlets across the country. It also supplies fresh apple chunks that restaurants use in salads.