Many Washington apple growers are investing in new technology at packing plants to ensure a high quality of fruit ships to consumers.
Allan Brothers Fruits has invested more than $7 million over three years at its packing line in Naches. Its scanners check apples for defects at the rate of 2,400 apples a minute.
The Yakima Herald-Republic reports growers are plowing profits back into their business after several good years, including the 2012 record apple harvest. They're also adding controlled atmosphere storage facilities, which help keep apples fresher.
The packing line technology allows growers to increase volume without adding employees. But, fruit growers need a new kind of employee in the packing shed -- one who can operate computer-controlled systems.