Perhaps it shouldn’t surprise that the smell of apples permeates the new GoGo squeeZ plant at 8385 Birch Lane.
But given the sheer size of the place — three-quarters of an acre — and given the sterile white walls and stainless-steel piping coursing through equipment like a puree metro system, the aroma proves this plant doesn’t produce gears or nails.
Those are real apples in stacked wooden crates in the receiving bay and bobbing in the rinsing flute. That’s real fruit being injected into green, 3.2-ounce pouches that robot arms pack into boxes to be shipped to stores across the West. Those are real workers under the white coats, hairnets and shoe booties.
The building, which was owned by Micron Technology Inc., had been vacant since its former tenant, MPC Computers, closed in 2008. Materne, GoGo squeeZ’s French parent company, paid an undisclosed sum for the property and invested $85 million to make it capable of mashing 60,000 tons of applesauce and other fruit mixes per year. Since opening in December, Materne has hired 122 workers and plans to ramp up to 284 by the time the plant reaches full capacity in late 2017.