Special harvesting equipment is used to remove the leaves from the beet root. Beet roots are then lifted from the soil and transported to receiving stations. Each truck load is sampled to evaluate sugar content and quality as beets are delivered and stored at the factory.
Washing & Slicing
Once at the factory, all sugarbeets are thoroughly washed to remove excess soil and debris before being sliced into thin strips called cossettes, which are about the size of french fries.
The cossettes are sent to a diffusion tank where they are placed in hot water. Sugar is diffused from the cossettes into what is now called raw juice.
Raw juice is sent to juice purification while the solid beet pulp is sent to mechanical presses where residual water is pressed out. The pressed pulp is then sold directly to dairy or beef cattle operations or dried and sold as a nutritionally-rich livestock feed.
Lime and carbon dioxide (CO2) are used to purify the raw juice, removing impurities using a clarifier and filters. In this process, the raw juice becomes a highly pure sucrose solution called thin juice.
Evaporation & Concentration
Thin juice is concentrated and turned into a syrup called thick juice. Thick juice is enriched with raw sugars in a melter, producing standard liquor. Standard liquor is further concentrated in vacuum pans causing sugar to crystallize.
In order for crystals to grow uniformly, tiny sugar crystals are added to the standard liquor. After reaching the right size, the crystals are separated from the remaining syrup with high speed centrifuges. The sugar is then washed with clean water, revealing its naturally white appearance.
Drying & Packaging
The crystalized sugar is dried and cooled. The sugar is then screened and classified by granulation size. It is packaged accordingly and shipped either by truck or rail.