Watch the entire interview with Ray McClure, former Twin City Foods executive, to learn even more about the history of Twin City Foods and agriculture in Snohomish County.
The success of his lumber operations would eventually fund his son’s food processing operation. Twin City Foods was first opened to handle peas from the prolific Stillaguamish and Skagit farm valleys. They would go on to process many types of produce including: broccoli, potatoes, corn, carrots, beans, and berries, as well as opening other processing and distribution centers in Idaho, Michigan and Eastern Washington.
Twin City Foods is an important employer in the upper Snohomish and lower Skagit Counties of Washington. During harvest season they employ up to 2,000 workers in Snohomish County and over 4,000 employees nationwide. They produce over 350 million pounds of food per year. Their capacity to store frozen food exceeds 250 million pounds in their cold storage facilities. Twin City Foods is one of the largest food processing companies in the world.
Why the name Twin City Foods? All that separates East Stanwood from West Stanwood is Interstate 5. Due to their close proximity, the two areas are known to be the “Twin Cities” of Western Washington.
Although they are best known for processing produce, Twin City Foods is also known for its place in the community as well. After WWII many women working in factories lost their jobs when the troops returned home. This was not the case at Twin City Foods. Women were allowed to retain their positions with the company, many of whom were truck drivers. Ray McClure, an Arlington native and retired 40 year employee of Twin City Foods, is quick to point out that “their family-friendly company and flexible schedule made it possible for him and many others in the area to both work and attend college.” Like many families in the area, Ray is one of several generations of the McClure family to work at Twin City Foods. As of 2013, the Lervicks themselves have had four generations of family members working for the company.
Twin City Foods had a positive impact on the agricultural market in the region. Local Northwest berries being one of the many crops they processed. (Photo courtesy Twin City Foods)
Twin City Foods test kitchen is a significant part of their food processing operations and ensuring the highest quality packaged foods. (Photo courtesy Twin City Foods)
Twin City Foods executives shown here circa 1970. Ole Lervick is in the center of the group holding ears of corn. Pictured to the far right is Ray McClure, former Vice President of Marketing. Ray worked for Twin City Foods for 40 years and is featured in the Centennial Trail oral histories. (Photo courtesy Twin City Foods)
Twin City Foods is one of the largest frozen food processing operations in the world. Factory workers are seen here preparing succotash for distribution. This cuisine is a tradition of Native Americans in the eastern woodlands where the dish was first prepared. (Photo courtesy Twin City Foods)
Corn pickers at Twin City Foods Headquarters in Stanwood, Washington. Corn was being sorted in the factory in preparation for processing.
Peas, peas and more peas! As company co-founder Arne T. Lervick would say, "A dinner without frozen peas is like a kiss without a squeeze." (Photo courtesy Twin City Foods)
Pea viner technology evolution was important to the area. Older models of pea viners traveled slowly, clogging local farm valley roads. As the population and transportation demands grew, pea viners needed to become more efficient for travel. (Photo courtesy Twin City Foods)
Twin City Foods truck fleet is shown here circa 1970. (Photo courtesy Twin City Foods)
Succotash is a food dish made primarily of corn and lima beans often served with other vegetables such as carrots and string beans. This dish became popular during the Great Depression because its ingredients are relatively inexpensive and readily available.
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