HERMISTON, OR - Lamb Weston is growing in a big way: the global contender in the french fry industry is adding a new processing line to its Hermiston pant, and adding a lot of jobs. The company says this is a quarter-billion dollar investment.
With this expansion, Lamb Weston will be able to make nearly 750 million pounds of frozen french fries each year at this facility - about 300 million more pounds than they were making before.
"We get great potatoes from this area; we were excited about the use of our great farmers here," said Rick Martin, Chief Supply Chain Officer at Lamb Weston.
The expansion of the Hermiston plant has been in the works for about a year and a half, and adds 150 full-time jobs. Lamb Weston is now the largest employer in the Hermiston area.
"We had up to 700 people that were on-site working on this project at our peak, and it's nice to see all our work and effort come together and now be starting up and actually running," Martin said.
The frozen potato products made in Hermiston are not only served in restaurants around the U.S. but around the world.
"So it's an additional 300 million pounds of capacity that we're now going to have available to sell french fries that will go around the world for our customers," Martin explained.
When Lamb Weston first looked into an expansion, they shopped around their plants... but Hermiston came out on top. Lamb Weston first built this 300,000 square foot plant back in 1972.
"Hermiston was towards the top of the list; we evaluate raw product supply, we evaluate labor availability, and just the general overall placement of the plant and Hermiston really stood out."