Tuesday, January 31, 2023
Jan. 31, 2023

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Apple processing plant sprouting in Moses Lake

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MOSES LAKE — Apple processing is coming to Moses Lake.

“We performed a substantial evaluation process and selected the site in Moses Lake for a variety of reasons, including proximity to our orchards, access to I-90 and other transportation aspects, available utilities and an energetic, growing community,” wrote Third Security CEO Julian Kirk in an email to the Columbia Basin Herald.

Radford, Virginia-based Third Security, an investment fund specializing in biotechnology companies, is building a $22 million, 66,000-square foot apple processing plant at 7571 N. Randolph Road, across from lift-maker Genie, at the Port of Moses Lake, according to engineering plans and building permits filed with the city of Moses Lake’s Community Development Department.

“We are excited to be building in Moses Lake,” Kirk said.

In its most recent filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Third Security reported a fund value of $240.7 million. According to the company’s website, Third Security owns stakes in four small biotech companies: Budapest, Hungary-based Eleszto Genetika, which specializes in genetically modified yeast and microbes; Davis, California-based plant breeding and biotech company Green Venus; UK-based Oxitec, which has developed a way to genetically modify insect pests that limits their ability to successfully reproduce; and British Columbia-based Okanagan Specialty Fruit, which grows a range of apples genetically modified for hardiness.

According to the Okanagan Specialty Fruit website, the company grows its Arctic-brand apples on about 1,350 acres in Washington. The apples have been modified and bred so they do not turn brown when they are sliced, bruised or bitten into, giving packaged apple slices a shelf life of nearly a month, the company’s website said.

The company has created Arctic versions of the Golden Delicious, Granny Smith and Fuji varieties of apples, the website says.

According to the company’s building permit application, the two-story, 66,000-square-foot main facility currently under construction will be used to process and sort raw apples, including washing, slicing, packaging, storing and shipping them.

Third Security has also received approval for a 40,000-square-foot phase two expansion to receive apples directly from the field, sort them by variety and store them, according to a permit filed with the Community Development Department.

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