A Summerland-based fruit company has opened a new state-of-the-art apple processing facility in Moses Lake, Washington.
On Sept. 27, Okanagan Specialty Fruits unveiled the facility. The company is the creator of the Arctic apple, a group of patented apples containing a non-browning trait.
The facility is 10,200 square metres and can process more than 22.5 million kilograms of apples every year.
Adjacent to this facility, a controlled-atmosphere storage facility is under construction, set to be completed in early 2024. Once completed, the company can store, process and pack more than 100,000 bins of Arctic apples.
The facility is near Okanagan Specialty Fruits’ Arctic apple orchard.
“We’ve redefined what it means to process apples in North America,” said Neal Carter, founder and president of Okanagan Specialty Fruits.
“Our Moses Lake facility is a game-changer in efficiency and bringing us closer to our orchards. When the controlled atmosphere facility is finished, every step from the orchard to the package of Arctic apples will happen right here.”
The facility is within the new Moses Lake Commerce Center adjacent to Grant County International Airport and is expected to employ more than 100 individuals initially, potentially expanding its workforce as technology and demand increase.
“We are unwavering in our commitment to delivering the finest product while maintaining the highest standards of employee and food safety,” said Don Westcott, senior vice president at Okanagan Specialty Fruits. “We are excited to be part of the Moses Lake Community.”
Okanagan Specialty Fruits has more than 500 hectares of Washington-grown Arctic Fuji, Arctic Golden. and Arctic Granny apples. Arctic Gala will be the next variety for the company, followed by Arctic Honey and Arctic Pink.
What sets Arctic apples apart is their ability to stay orchard-fresh for up to 28 days.
As one of America’s most beloved fruits, apples have found a new twist with pre-sliced Arctic apples. According to Rebecca Catlett, director of marketing and communications at Okanagan Specialty Fruits, these slices are revolutionizing the industry.
“For the first time, restaurateurs, schools, and more can eliminate the hassle, risks, and labour costs of on-site slicing, all without compromising flavour and quality,” Catlett said. “With Arctic apple slices staying fresh after slicing, they’re a game-changer for both food service professionals and their customers.”
Okanagan Specialty Fruits was founded in 1996 and acquired by an affiliate of Third Security, LLC in 2020. All Arctic apples are grown in Washington state.