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Organic Horseradish owner Dave Krizo examines cleaned, cut horseradish that is bagged, boxed and shipped to buyers.
Organic Horseradish Co., 7890 Road 120, Tulelake, CA 06134

Telephone: 530-664-3862

E-mail: sales@organichorseradish.com

Website: www.organichorseradish.com

http://www.capitalpress.com/main.asp Search=1&ArticleID=32266&SectionID=67&SubSectionID=&S=1
Tulelake Basin soil cranks out heat

Horseradish farmers operate certified organic operation

Lee Juillerat Freelance Writer, Capital Press 5/11/07

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 organic.

"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 Mustard.

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 Krizo said.

"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 nationwide.

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."
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