Since You Asked: Loud roar comes from fruit steamer at Sabroso

I was in the Grape Street area of Medford on Thursday when a high-pitched roar suddenly filled the air. I nearly jumped out of my skin!

The sound was so loud I had to yell to communicate with my friend. It sounded like a jet was landing in the middle of west Medford.

A person walking by said it happens nearly every day. He said the sound originates from the Sabroso plant on Grape Street. Is this true? And if so what could cause such a noise?

— Bob P., Medford

The sound you heard was not a jet landing on Grape Street, though we certainly understand how you could make the assumption, Bob.

Yes, the noise comes from Sabroso, a company that makes "fruit purees, fruit puree concentrates, fruit preparations, fruit flakes, fruit bases and custom fruit solutions for leading food companies in North America," according to its website.

A spokesman for Sabroso, who asked to remain nameless for this Since You Asked, said the noise comes from large machines that steam the fruit before it is packaged and sold.

The company is mandated to steam fruit at a certain temperature for safety reasons. The steam builds up in these machines and is slowly released through pipes at the top of plant buildings.

The noise is akin to a teapot reaching full boil.

The spokesman said the steam is released at various points during the day.

Sabroso might be noisy for its neighbors, but in these tough economic times it's nice to have a business in town keeping local workers busy.

Also, Sabroso seems to take energy conservation seriously. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, Sabroso joined a select group of plants across the country that saved at least 75,000 btus or at least 7.5 percent of total plant energy consumption. The company was given a "Save Energy Now" award. It was one of only 129 plants across the nation to received the honor.

Send questions to "Since You Asked," Mail Tribune Newsroom, P.O. Box 1108, Medford, OR 97501; by fax to 541-776-4376; or by e-mail to We're sorry, but the volume of questions received prevents us from answering all of them.

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