Yakima apple plant expanding; could bring up to 100 new jobs

Yakima apple plant expanding; could bring up to 100 new jobs
YAKIMA, Wash. -- More jobs could be coming to Yakima. A local apple packing plant plans to double in size. That could bring as many as 100 new jobs. KIMA got the details on the new facility.

Joseph McFarland is looking for work. He's been out of a job for six months.

"It's been really hard, you know," he said.

There could be some hope for Joseph and other jobseekers. Washington Fruit and Produce Company has plans for a new facility near River Road. The company is adding 230,000 square feet, including a new packing line.

There could be up to 100 new full-time jobs.

"There'll be jobs in the the apple line itself and forklift-driving positions, filling boxes, aligning apples, that type of thing," said Washington Fruit Operations Manager Tommy Hanses. "I think it's fantastic for the community. Obviously, it's a huge investment in construction, but also the full-time jobs."

The company built its current facility in 2010, but has nearly reached capacity from the production of new orchards planted by the company.

The new operation will go behind the existing building. Hanses says it will be state-of-the-art and will cost the company tens of millions of dollars to build.

"We pride ourselves on having a clean, healthy workplace that's attractive to employees," he said.

The jobs could be an attractive option when the place is ready. For now, Joseph keeps looking.

"I think in the long run, you know, I'm going to find a good job," he said.

A challenge that takes patience.

Hanses tells KIMA construction will begin this summer. The new plant should be running by fall of next year.