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.
Construction on the project started last September and the facility is slated to be completed in May. Yerington-based Prime West Construction is the general contractor on the project.
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 such as spinach, kale, lettuce, celery, broccoli, cauliflower. Peri and Sons Farms is the only agricultural company that grows leafy greens in Nevada on a large scale, David Peri, president and CEO of Peri & Son Farms, said in a phone interview.
The new cooling facility will allow the two companies to expand their growing capabilities and to ship their produce more efficiently. Peri said the company’s produce has previously been sent to Salinas, Calif., before being sent to the East Coast. This will now allow the company 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.
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 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 said this is just the first phase of the project and additional growth of the facility will be planned in the future as the program continues. Peri said it’s 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 led 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’s also looking ahead for the next leader of the company to someday take over after him.
Peri said he is encouraged that “the next generation can continue to operate (the company) and expand it without me being at the helm.”