The Borton Fruit Story is a unique mix of family farming history and commitment to innovation into the future. The roots of Borton Fruit can be traced through the lives of the Borton family since 1912. The small beginnings of a 20 acre piece of farmland has blossomed into the Borton Family as one of the Largest single growers of apples, pears and cherries in the United States. Each generation dedicated to cultivating success through hard work and family values, a true story of the American Dream.
Byron S. Borton, the original founder, grew up on an Illinois farm and worked as a teacher. After short stays in Minnesota and Albany, Oregon, the Borton Family made their way to Yakima, WA where Byron became the head school master for the three-room Marks School in Yakima. The family settled down in West Valley Yakima, where Byron purchased twenty acres of land.
While teaching for ten years, the Borton's expanded the family orchard to forty acres. Byron S. and his wife raised three sons, Byron E, Richard and Don. The boys grew up together farming and helping with the family apple business.
In 1928, Byron E. purchased Cottonwood Orchard and continued farming in cooperation with his father. Richard pursued a career in Electrical Engineering, while Byron S. and son Byron E. expanded their orchards by purchasing eighty acres from the American Fruit Growers in 1938.
As the 1940's approached, the United States and the Borton farm were on the verge of major changes. Byron S. was approaching retirement and war broke out. In 1941, Don Borton was called to war. Tragically in 1944, he was declared "missing-in-action" and later his death was confirmed. These changes tugged at Richard's heart, and he was drawn back home and welcomed into the family business.
The second generation of Byron E and Richard maintained control of the ranch from 1946-1972. During this era the Fruit storage was converted to refrigerated facilities and the business established their own packing plant. The fruit was sold through a broker, but the orchards were expanded to approximately 240 acres by 1972.
The Third generation ownership under leadership of Bill Borton (Byron E.'s son) and John Borton (Richard's son) has seen the most dramatic changes and growth. Bill assumed control of the farming aspects while John assumed responsibility of business & warehouse operations.
The first 3 rooms (5,500 bins) of Controlled Atmosphere storage in were added in 1977.
In 1979, the original packing line and storage area burned down. This tragedy presented an opportunity to become an industry leader with new technology. John and Bill purchased the first computerized electronic sizer and color sorter in the U.S. This dramatically improved the accuracy of sizing and color sorting of fruit with less labor.
Storage Expansion projects continued during the mid 1980s while orchard expansion continued at a rapid rate. The additional volume produced prompted the construction of a second higher capacity packing line in 1989
The company formed their own sales department in 1981.
During the early 1990's a new loading dock and staging area was added as well as storage expansion creating capacity for over 140,000 bins.
Tradition and family continues to be a stronghold within the Borton & Sons organization. The fourth generation of Byron Borton (Bill's Son), Katie Birley (John's Daughter) and her husband Andy Birley as well as Eric Borton (John's Son) have joined the family business.
In 2004, an additional 100,000 sq. ft. storage complex was built and that same year the company purchased an additional warehouse (W. Chestnut Plant) in Yakima that included 40,000 bins of storage, 2 packing lines, a pre-size line, and a cherry line. In 2006, Borton Fruit purchased another packing facility located in Zillah, WA with another 40,000 bins of storage and two cherry packing lines, bringing their total storage capacity to 280,000 bins
2012 marked the 100th Anniversary for Borton Fruit.
In 2012, the company also finished construction on a state of the art 25,000 square foot Office building & company headquarters.
In 2017 Borton Fruit merged our Sales & Marketing desk with Chelan Fresh, creating a dynamic sales organization with strong volume, exceptional product mix and industry leading commitment to service our customers at the highest level.
A next generation Packing and Shipping Complex with the latest technology in sorting and automation. With the construction of this world class facility, Borton Fruit consolidated all of our production and shipping operations to this single facility, achieving an efficient and industry leading single packing and shipping point model.
John & Bill Borton named Apple Growers of the Year.
The Borton family continues to grow and broaden our horizons to be a leader in a competitive fruit industry. As the marketplace evolves, so do our strategies to lead within an ever-changing business environment. Borton & Sons, Inc. continues to reinvest in every aspect of our business. We take pride in the ability to adapt and overcome the challenges that face the agriculture industry. Our dedication to excellence will allow Borton & Sons, Inc. to remain a dominant player in the industry for generations to come.
2550 Borton Road
Yakima, WA 98903