The President’s Pen is a weekly blog written by Jonathan Smith, New Vision’s President and CEO about local economic development projects and initiatives. It also covers economic trends, workforce issues, business climate policies, and manufacturing news.
Last week our industry roundtable group toured Tree Top's facilities in Selah. About 20 of us learned more about the company's history and current operations. Tree Top was formed in 1960 as a grower-owned cooperative. The company has more than 1,100 grower owners today. With over 1000 employees Tree Top has become one of the world's premier fruit-based company, producing wholesome products including top-quality juices and sauces and premium ingredients.
The company produces three core products:
Tree Top maintains eight processing facilities. Three of these plants are in Selah. The company also has operations in Prosser, Wenatchee, Medford (OR), Woodburn (OR), and Oxnard (CA). Tree Top also owns Northwest Naturals in Bothell, WA which produces flavorings and specialty ingredients for alcohols, coffees, ice cream manufacturers and more.
The company generates over $325 Million annually in Gross Sales. It has an annual payroll of approximately $51 million.
Our crew enjoyed seeing how so many ingredients are made from apples. Whether its apple cinnamon Cheerios, Quaker Oatmeal, or many other food products, apples are typically the base fruit used in processed fruit snacks. Our tour group learned that Tree Top can impart flavor and color to apples so they taste like oranges, raspberries, cherries, pineapples, or almost any other type of fruit.
The roundtable team also enjoyed seeing Tree Top's newest plant which makes and packages fresh apple slices. This facility was built about eight years ago in response to growing demand for apple slices. The plant is kept religiously clean and held at a fairly constant temperature of 36 degrees to make sure the product stays fresh. Painstaking steps are taken to maximize the shelf life and quality of these fresh snacks.
Tree Top is proud of its environmental stewardship. They have virtually no waste from their fruit processing efforts as the solid fruit matters not used in products are sold or used as animal feed. Tree Top also takes extra steps to ensure any waste water returns to the natural waterways as clean, if not cleaner than when they received it.
The company is also a big supporter of our community. It donates approximately $200,000 annually to support to more than 50 charitable organizations in the Yakima Valley. Additionally, Tree Top employees donate hundreds of hours of employee time to volunteer for United Way, March of Dimes, Junior Achievement and dozens of other local causes.
We appreciated the first hand look at Tree Top recently. With over 500 employees in Yakima County they are an important contributor to our local economy. They are a great corporate citizen as well and our office is thankful that they have grown successfully in the Yakima Valley.