The apple business has a lot of ups and downs, so being able to diversify is critical. 2019 Apple Growers of the Year John and Bill Borton of Borton & Sons in Yakima, WA, have done that in a big way, building numerous apartment complexes and housing developments.
The company’s real estate division is managed by the fourth generation of Bortons, primarily Byron and Katie, John’s daughter. Her husband, Andy Birley, is the company’s Operations Manager.
In 1992, they even opened their own golf course, complete with a ‘Red Delicious’-shaped island green. Today, Apple Tree Golf Course is part of a master-planned development that includes housing surrounding the links.
“We took out some old marginal apple orchards in an area close to town, and thought we could design and build a golf course here,” John says. “In an apple-producing area, we thought it would be neat to carry on the theme.”