Forrence Orchards makes upgrades to shed

Forrence Orchards Inc., Peru, N.Y., has put some final, modernizing touches on the facility it bought 10 years ago, said Peter Forrence, vice president.

“We’ve brought it up to ‘state of the art’” in time for the 2009-10 season, Forrence said.

The company has upgraded the building’s electronics, including new technology monitoring temperature and atmosphere in its refrigerated systems, he said.

Also new at Forrence Orchards, the company plans to look at export markets this year “more than ever” before, Forrence said.

Particularly, he said, if fruit is on the small side, with abundant supplies of the 120s, 140s and other smaller apples the United Kingdom — the sole Forrence Orchards export market — prefers. Mcintosh is by far the dominant export-market variety for the company, Forrence said.

New York Apple Association to sponsor marathon

The Fisher, N.Y.-based New York Apple Association will once again be a of sponsor the ING New York Marathon on Nov. 1, said Peter Gregg, spokesman.

A sponsor since 1999, the association will be a presence along the race route and will air ads on the TV broadcast on WNBC, the local New York NBC affiliate, Gregg said.

The association plans to spend $600,000 on TV and radio ads this fall, he said.

“We’ll really be working hard to promote this crop,” he said.

Red Jacket Orchards builds facility

Red Jacket Orchards, Geneva, N.Y., is building a juice processing facility, has shifted the roles of two employees and has earned a sustainability seal of approval from a leading certifying body.

The company’s new processing facility, set to begin turning out juice in 2010, will indirectly benefit the company’s fresh operations, said Mark Nicholson, executive vice president.

“By putting juice in its own custom plant, it opens up space in the fresh-pack facility to do more,” he said. “It will allow our fresh program to expand.”

Also new at Red Jacket, Nicholson said his role has transitioned more to the sales and marketing side. Greg Tompkins has stepped into the role of farm manager to perform many of Nicholson’s former duties, Nicholson said.

Finally, the company has been certified by sustainability watchdog group, Nicholson said. As an example of its efforts in that arena, Red Jacket’s new juice plant has gained LEED certification because of its energy efficiency, he said.

Rice Fruit Co. installs new sizer/sorter

Rice Fruit Co., Gardners, Pa., expects to have a new sizer/sorter up and running for the bulk of its 2009-10 harvest, and has added a member of the Rice family in its office, said John Rice, president.

The sizer/sorter, made in New Zealand, is being installed on the company’s pre-sort line and represents a capital investment of more than $1 million, Rice said.

The compact machine will make sizing and sorting by color and defect faster and more accurate, and will be gentler on fruit, Rice said. It also will reduce the number of workers needed on the pre-sort line, he said. It should start running by early September.

New in the Rice office is Rice’s nephew Benjamin Rice-Townsend, a member of the eighth generation of Rices to grow apples in Pennsylvania.

Rice-Townsend, who is starting in operations and production, is the son of David Rice, the company’s vice president of operations. Rice-Townsend’s cousin Leighton Rice, John Rice’s son, joined Rice Fruit in the summer of 2008.