SUNNYSIDE — After 40 years operating as Valley Processing, Inc., the juice company is being sold to Milne Fruit Products of Prosser, “So I can retire,” Valley Processing Company President Mary Ann Bliesner recently announced in a letter to the Port of Sunnyside Commission.

The letter announced Bliesner’s company selling its assets to Milne Fruit Products and is terminating its contract with the Port District for wastewater treatment.

The sale is expected to be finalized within the week, Port Executive Director Jay Hester said Thursday, Sept. 10.

“Valley Processing has been a good company to work with and represents one of our largest Port customers, second only to Darigold,” Hester said. “We’re happy to welcome the Milne company to the Port.”

Attempts to obtain a statement from Valley Processing or Milne Fruit representatives were unsuccessful.

According to Bliesner’s letter written to the Port Commission, dated Sept. 1, she wrote “…the Port of Sunnyside has been a part of the Valley Processing for many years and (it) was a pleasure to work with you Jay and the all the Port Commissioners, as well.”

The fruit processing plant is terminating its contracts with the Port at its 108 E. Blaine Ave. and US Grape facility at 130 US Grape Road facilities as of receipt of the letter, Sept. 1.

The juice processing plant had been family owned and operated since opening nearly 40 years ago. Company founders Gene and Mary Ann Bliesner took the old Western Farmers turkey processing plant, converting it into the juice processor which has been a staple part of the community ever since.

Its clientele included such popular brands at Langer, Safeway, Jamba Juice, and Kroeger juice products, which all begin at the Sunnyside plant.

The Port will work with Milne Fruit Products to put into place a new contract for the Port’s Industrial Wastewater Treatment Facility (IWWTF), Port Executive Director Hester confirmed.

Julia Hart can be reached at 509-837-4500, ext. 123 or at jhart@sunnysidesun.com

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