Bear Mountain upgrades sizers

Aspers, Pa.-based Bear Mountain Orchards Inc. has installed new sizing equipment, said John Lott, president.

The system has a similar capacity to the one it replaced — about 350 bushels per hour — but “takeaway is greater,” Lott said.

The company invested about $750,000 to put in the new system, Lott said.

Crown Orchard reaches centennial mark

Charlottesville, Va.-based Crown Orchard Co. is celebrating its 100th anniversary, said Henry Chiles, third-generation owner.

The company, which Chiles’ maternal and paternal grandfathers, Henry Chiles and John Montague, started on about 300 acres in 1912, has acreage in the 1,000 to 1,200 range today, Chiles said.

El Vista Orchards brings acreage online

El Vista Orchards of Fairfield, Pa., expects first its production from acreage planted in 2009-10, said David Benner, general manager.

The 30 acres include Honeycrisp, fujis and galas, Benner said.

Fowler Bros. updates for produce traceability

Fowler Bros. Inc., a Wolcott, NY.-based apple grower-shipper, is making progress on its compliance with the Produce Traceability Initiative, said Lee Peters, vice president of sales and marketing.

“We’re going to be keeping compliant for GTIN (Global Trade Item Number) marketing and apple labeling,” he said.

The company also is building a new power plant to run its controlled-atmosphere storage rooms, Peters said.

“It’s replacing a 35-year-old structure, so we continue to update,” Peters said.

Fowler also has installed new electronics and software systems in its presize operation, he said.

New York Apple hires marketer, merchandiser

The Fishers-based New York Apple Association, which hired Molly Golden as its marketing director in April, has brought in Susie Sarlund to help merchandise apples in New York City, said Jim Allen, the association’s president.

Sarlund is the daughter of John Matlady, who has worked with the association in metro New York for years, Allen said.

Rice Fruit Co. rolls out logo, pack designs

There are changes on the surface and in the infrastructure of Gardners, Pa.-based Rice Fruit Co., said John Rice, the grower-shipper’s vice president.

“I guess the biggest news this year is we’re changing our look,” he said.

The company has a new logo and packaging as it starts its 100th year in business, Rice said.

Rice’s grandfather, Arthur Rice, started Rice Fruit Co. as an apple-growing operation in 1913.

The family-owned company now has a fourth generation involved in Rice Fruit and an offshoot, R&L Orchards, Rice said.

R&L supplies about 20% of the fruit Rice Fruit Co. ships, with the rest coming from about 40 other family farms in the area, Rice said.

Rice Fruit also is building, Rice said.

“Our biggest change is we’re spending another $1 million to put in another packing line to replace a line that was about 12 years old,” he said.

Sun Orchard Fruit Co. builds packing plant

Burt, N.Y.-based Sun Orchard Fruit Co. is finishing a 24,000-square-foot packing plant, said Tim Mansfield, sales and marketing director.

“As we grow, we have the capacity to double what we’re packing now,” he said, estimating current capacity at around 700,000 bushels.