Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Snake River Produce Company

Today we hear from Tiffany Cruickshank of Snake River Produce Company. She is a fourth generation agriculturalist!

Snake River Produce Company, LLC is located in Nyssa, Oregon in the heart of the Idaho-Eastern Oregon onion region.

Snake River Produce is an onion packer and shipper – shipping red, white, and yellow onions from August to the end of March each year. Established in 1999, Snake River Produce was formerly owned and operated formerly by Muir-Roberts Co., Inc. headquartered in Salt Lake City, Utah. Muir-Roberts operated this facility for approximately 50 years and in 1999, four onion growers, Reid Saito, Ken Teramura, Les Ito, and Ross Nishihara, along with Kay Riley, former Vice President of Operations for Muir-Roberts purchased the assets and business from Muir-Roberts. Pat Takasugi, a local onion grower and Idaho State Representative joined the business in 2003 as a part owner and grower. Following his passing in 2011, Pat’s wife, Suzanne took over the farm and partnership in Snake River Produce.

General Manager of our facility - Kay Riley & Tiffany Cruickshank

I am a fourth generation agriculturalist working in Sales, Marketing, & Transportation for Snake River Produce Company, LLC. My great-grandfather Henry started farming after he moved to the United States from Germany. My grandfather Peter and father Michael continued the farming tradition and my father still farms today on the farm and ranch where I grew up. My husband Chad grew up on a row crop farm started by his grandfather and is now an agriculture instructor and FFA advisor at the local high school. Needless to say, we are entrenched in the agriculture industry and have deep-rooted traditions with our families.

We are a seasonal shipper – shipping onions from approximately the middle of August to the end of March year. During what we call our ‘busy season’, our days vary. Generally, we work in the office at the packing shed selling onions, arranging transportation via rail and truck, discussing the market with customers, taking care of paperwork, and any other project that comes our way. We also take care of the traceability aspect of our onions, check on the product being packed, and keep up with the day-to-day dealings of a business. That is a very broad view of the job, but we all wear a lot of hats and take on various jobs to make sure everything gets accomplished!

My favorite part of living on a farm and ranch – and working in the agricultural industry is the people and the culture. The individuals we deal with are the hardest working, most honest people you will meet. The integrity and determination that comes along with agriculturalists is unrivaled and I would not want to work with a different group of people.

Food safety and the perception by the public is definitely one of the biggest challenges we face. It seems as though there is some sort of fresh produce recall in the media regularly. Dry onions have never been the focus of a food safety issue and we go through tremendous effort to make our food safe. Dry bulb onions are at very low risk for food safety issues, however, they are still categorized with leafy greens in the USDA food safety classification. In a proactive move to keep ahead of new mandatory food safety and traceability measures, Snake River Produce uses a traceability program utilizing GPS and mock recall segments. AIB, a third-party auditor has given Snake River a superior rating for more than a year and the grower base for our facility is GAP-certified through the USDA. Another step we take is multi-level testing by Certified Onions, Inc. in coordination with the Oregon Department of Agriculture.

Thank you Tiffany for a great feature!! You can learn more about Snake River Produce Company by checking out their Facebook Page , their LinkedIn Profile and website or follow them on Pinterest for great onion Recipes!

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