SWEET OPERATION

October 09, 2001 11:00 pm
 (The Observer/PHIL BULLOCK).
(The Observer/PHIL BULLOCK).

Arlan Miesner delivers a truck full of sugar beets from Weishaar brothers farms to the Amalgamated Sugar Company collection facility set up north of the Union County airport Tuesday. The beets are trucked to the sugar companys plant in Nyssa. Miesner said this is the second week of the harvest that usually lasts about four weeks. According to the Oregon State University agriculture department, sugar beet processing entails cutting the beets into thin strips and removing the sugar by diffusion of the strips with hot water. The hot water or raw juice has a sugar content of 10 percent to 15 percent. Nonsugars are than precipitated with lime and carbon dioxide gas and filtered. This results in a thin juice that is run through a series of five steam-heated vacuum evaporators. The final super-saturated solution is seeded with sugar crystals to promote the crystals which are removed by centrifugation. This separated molasses is reboiled and recrystallized and centrifuged to remove additional sugar. This continues and continues until the final sugar product is obtained.