Ellis Huntsinger founded Huntsinger Farms, Inc., and its subsidiary Silver Spring Foods, Inc., in 1929. That’s when he started growing horseradish and other vegetable crops on a few acres of land near a freshwater spring south of Eau Claire, Wisconsin.
In the early days, Ellis prepared and bottled horseradish by hand in an old milk shed behind his house. He sold his fresh ground horseradish locally to help augment his income during Wisconsin’s cold winter months.
Huntsinger Farms now grows horseradish in a five- to seven-year rotation with corn, soybeans, snap beans and other forage crops on over 7,000 acres of prime Wisconsin and Minnesota farmland. Horseradish roots harvested in the spring and fall are placed immediately in cold storage until processed, bottled, and sold under the Silver Spring brand to markets worldwide.
Prepared horseradish is traditionally made by grinding and mixing horseradish with vinegar as a natural preservative. Without the vinegar, the fresh root—once washed and grated—would otherwise quickly darken and lose its characteristic bite. Refrigeration is necessary in order to keep the horseradish white in color and to retain its sharp flavor.
Ellis Huntsinger discovered that the addition of fresh sweet dairy cream helped to further enhance the flavor, heat, and longevity of his prepared horseradish. This discovery helped him expand his horseradish sales to markets throughout the country. In fact, today Silver Spring horseradish is the number one retail brand for prepared horseradish in the United States.
Currently owned by Ellis Huntsinger’s granddaughter and her two sons, the company has been family owned and operated for over 90 years and through four generations. A talented management team and an exceptional group of employees remain dedicated to providing the service and product quality that have been key to our success.
Employees of Huntsinger Farm plant horseradish in both the spring and fall using custom-built equipment similar to potato planters. Short sections of root trimmed from the previous year’s crop are placed in the soil, where they will sprout in the spring and grow into a new crop.
Harvesting also takes place in both the spring and fall. Modified potato-diggers reach deep into the soil to remove as much of the root complex as possible. Conveyers fitted with steel bars work to shake off the soil before the roots are loaded into trucks for transport to cold storage. They remain in cold storage until they are used to create our prepared horseradish products.
Farm Manager Ken Traaseth continually works to improve horseradish yield and quality at Huntsinger Farms. He routinely inspects the horseradish fields during the summer growing season.