Organic Horseradish owner Dave
Krizo examines cleaned, cut
horseradish that is bagged, boxed and
shipped to buyers.
Tulelake Basin soil cranks out heat
Horseradish farmers operate certified
Lee Juillerat Freelance Writer, Capital
TULELAKE, Calif. -Dave and Jacqui Krizo are
getting back to their roots.
The Krizos raise horseradish on their
Tulelake-area farm. And, just like the crop,
horseradish is long-rooted in their family
histories. Jack Newkirk, Jacqui's father, was
a World War II veteran who won a homestead in
1949 and was among the original group of
Tulelake Basin farmers who planted horseradish
in the mid-1950s.
Dave's father, Phil, and his grandfather,
Frank, were Czechs from Slovakia. Frank came
to the United States in 1915, eventually
working his way to the Tulelake Basin, where
he received a World War I homestead in 1927.
Phil Krizo had his name pulled in the 1947
drawing, making him one the few people already
living in the area who received a homestead.
Dave and Jacqui raised barley and oats when
they moved back to the region in 1975 but took
over the horseradish business in 1986 after
Newkirk's death. Along with 450 acres in grain
and field peas, they have an additional 175
acres in horseradish. Since 1998, the
horseradish acreage has been certified
"I wasn't using any chemicals because we
didn't need to use any," Dave says of being
certified by Oregon Tilth.
The Krizos are among the five growers who sell
bulk horseradish roots through the Tulelake
Horseradish Association. They also sell roots
in 5- and 10-pound boxes and 50-pound sacks to
health food stores for people who want to
grind their own horseradish.
More recently, the Krizos have launched
something new: Volcanic Organic Horseradish.
It's available in 4-ounce bottles in nearby
Klamath Falls, Ore., and Tulelake.
Dave and Jacqui regard their business, Organic
Horseradish Co., as a start-up in search of a
niche market. So far, they're offering two
varieties: Organic Tulelake Grown Horseradish
and Organic Tulelake Grown Horseradish
The Krizos ventured into manufacturing their
own partly because the Tulelake name
disappeared from horseradish bottles when the
old Tulelake Horseradish brand was bought by
Mezzetta and, more recently, Beaver.
"We thought there was a market for it," Dave
"So many people are looking for organic now,"
Jacqui Krizo added.
The Krizos save a portion of their crop, which
is harvested in the spring and fall, for their
business. The horseradish is processed
elsewhere but bottled in Tulelake, usually
only about 20 cases at a time.
The current digging is being done by the
Krizos' two full-time employees, Jesse
Chavolla and Rafael Hernandez. The fat, hairy
roots - about 8 inches long and 1 1/2 inches
in diameter - are sent to a plant near
Tulelake where the roots are cleaned, chopped,
bagged and shipped for processing to buyers
Why does the horseradish thrive in the
Tulelake Basin? "It's kind of a combination
between the high organic soils and the
temperatures," Dave said. "When we grow
regular radishes in the garden, they're so
hot, you can't even eat them."