Sonoma County, California’s ‘Last Apple Plant’ Will Relocate to Sunnyside, Washington

Feb. 15, 2024
Manzana Products has processed apples into sauce, vinegar, cider and juice in Graton, Calif., for more than 100 years, but the cost to ship apples there will force the company to move operations.

Graton, Calif., apple processor Manzana Products will move its processing operations to the Yakima Valley in Washington state by December of 2025, according to numerous local reports.

Manzana has processed applesauce, vinegar, cider and juice under the North Coast Organics line in its Sonoma County plant for more than a century, but it is time for the company to follow apple production north, company CEO Andy Kay explained. Multiple news outlets said the facility was “Sonoma County’s last apple processing plant,” and bemoaned the loss of one of the region’s heritage agricultural products.

Kay noted that in the 1940s and 1950s, Sonoma County had 15,000-plus acres of apple-growing orchards, but today that number was down to less than 1,000 acres. To that point, he told the news outlet, California accounts for only 2% of apple production in the U.S. today, while Washington state produces nearly 70%, and shipping apples to California from outside sources had become cost-prohibitive for the company.

Kay said that 80% or more of the company’s apples were sourced from Washington producers, and 25% of what Manzana was paying for apples could be chalked up directly to transportation of the fruit, according to one news report.

Manzana plans to keep operations at the plant going for the next 12 months before the transition to a facility in Sunnyside, Wash., begins. Kay said in the news article that the company believes employees will have enough time under those circumstances to relocate if they so choose.

Additionally, Manzana has agreed to buy Sonoma County apples until 2029, giving local producers several years to begin to arrange for new destinations for their crops, according to reports.

About the Author

Andy Hanacek | Senior Editor

Andy Hanacek has covered meat, poultry, bakery and snack foods as a B2B editor for nearly 20 years, and has toured hundreds of processing plants and food companies, sharing stories of innovation and technological advancement throughout the food supply chain. In 2018, he won a Folio:Eddie Award for his unique "From the Editor's Desk" video blogs, and he has brought home additional awards from Folio and ASBPE over the years. In addition, Hanacek led the Meat Industry Hall of Fame for several years and was vice president of communications for We R Food Safety, a food safety software and consulting company.

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