Tree Top, Selah, WA, recently won Seattle Business magazine’s 2015 Food Processor of the Year award. The grower-owned cooperative was selected from a field of more than 100 manufacturers for the honor. According to the magazine’s editor, Leslie Helm, winning companies had novel products and demonstrated increased competitiveness by improving manufacturing processes and implementing effective marketing strategies.

In accepting the honor, Tree Top CEO Keith Gomes credited Tree Top employees and grower-owners for the cooperative’s success. “This honor goes to each of you who contributed to our organization’s strength, stability and success,” he said. “It’s gratifying to be recognized for the quality of the work we do every day.”

Recent innovations that helped Tree Top get noticed were a new pouch packaging line and a new sizing and sorting facility. The pouch line gave Tree Top access to a quickly growing market segment for apple sauce in convenient, no-mess pouches. The new pre-sort/pre-size facility was designed and built to better align fruit types and sizes with specific production needs at Tree Top’s wide array of fruit production facilities. This resulted in greater efficiencies and reduced resource utilization in terms of both labor and transportation.

Looking forward, Gomes said, “Tree Top plans to bring more efficiencies and innovations to the food processing sector. Some of this will be realized through our ongoing sustainability efforts that include reducing water consumption, improving the environments in which we work and the quality of life for our employees.”