First of its kind in Nevada produce cooling facility to open in Yerington in May
Yerington will soon have a state-of-the-art cooling and distribution facility. Walker River Cooling facility is the first high-tech produce cooling facility of its kind in Nevada.
The facility is a joint venture of the Peri & Son’s Company, Nevada Fresh Pak, and the family-owned international organization Nunes Company, owners of Foxy brand produce. The two companies have been working together since 2008 when Peri & Sons began planting lettuce for the Nunes Company in Yerington. That partnership has evolved over the years to grow many other organic leafy greens, a term in the industry for produce such as spinach, kale, lettuce, celery, broccoli, cauliflower and more. Peri and Sons Farms is the only agricultural company that grows leafy greens in Nevada on a large scale.
“We are the first and only ones to do it commercially on a large scale,” David Peri, president and CEO of Peri & Son Farms, said in a phone interview with NNBW.
The new cooling facility will allow the two companies to expand their growing capabilities and to ship their produce more efficiently. Peri explained their produce has previously been sent to Salinas, Calif., before being sent to the East Coast. This will now allow them to do everything from growing, testing, harvesting, packing, cooling and shipping right from Yerington.
“We are eliminating a lot of the logistical costs,” Peri said
Construction on the project started last September. The facility is slated to be completed in May. The Yerington-based Prime West Construction is the general contractor on the project.
Combined, Peri & Sons Farms, and their company Nevada Fresh Pak, is the largest private employer in Lyon County. The company currently employs 440 full-time people and also employs more than 1,600 seasonal full-time workers year each. The completion of the Walker River Cooling facility also will add approximately 20 new permanent jobs in Yerington.
“The cooler will be running 24 hours a day, so it takes a pretty good staff to do that,” Peri said.
The facility is located on 11 acres of land. The cooler will span 15,000 square feet and the packing and storage will span 10,000 square feet. Peri explained that this is just the first phase of the project. They have planned for additional growth of the facility in the future as the program continues. Peri said that it is designed to add another 25,000 square feet to the cooler.
Peri & Sons Farms contributes an estimated $150 million annually to the northern Nevada economy. The company has been growing, packing and shipping organic onions for more than 35 years. However, the family’s history of farming in Nevada goes back generations. Peri’s grandfather started a farm in Lockwood, Nev., in 1918 after emigrating from Italy. Today, the company is lead by David and his wife, Pam Peri. Peri & Sons Farms and Nevada Fresh Pak farm around 12,000 acres between Nevada and California and is one of the largest onion operations in the world.
Peri credits the success and growth of the company to hard work, perseverance and hiring good employees.
“Farming is seven days a week, so you have to have a passion for what you are doing,” Peri said.
As for the future of the company, Peri plans to continue to expand and grow. He is also looking ahead for the next leader of the company to someday take over after him.
I am encouraged that “the next generation can continue to operate (the company) and expand it without me being at the helm,” Peri said.
Should the project in remote Washoe County gain eventual approval, it would fill about 50 construction jobs, in addition to 15-20 full-time jobs once operational.