Walla Walla Sweets are on the move from father/son team of Fernando Enriquez Sr. and Fernando Enriquez Jr. and their operation, Enriquez Farms in Walla Walla. Fernando Jr. told OnionBusiness harvest started in mid-June, and he added, “We should be done in early August.”
Fernando Jr. told us that Lourdes had graduated with an accounting degree from the National Autonomous University of Mexico, and his father is a second-generation farmer whose father was a Spanish immigrant who moved to the Mexican city of Oaxaca and grew sugar cane.
After Fernando Sr. moved to the Walla Walla Valley, he initially grew asparagus “but quickly learned the trade of growing onions in the Walla Walla Valley,” Fernando Jr. said. His dad “soon perfected the craft.”
The younger Fernando said he grew up helping his father farm onions, and he noted he “always held the same passion for agriculture.” After he graduated with a finance degree from Eastern Washington University, Fernando Jr. worked in the banking industry for 12 years.
But he said he felt his calling was drawing him back to the farm, and he decided to “trade [my] tie in for boots, becoming the third generation of farmers in our family. He said that because he knows how important an education is, he enrolled in an agronomy program at a local college before officially returning to the farm. Jr. said he finished the agronomy program at the top of his class and also placed 1st in a state soils competition.
Now in his sixth crop season, Jr. said his passion and determination has been passed on from his dad, and he plans “continue to grow my family’s farming legacy with pride.”
Fernando said this year Enriquez Farms has 140 acres of onions as well as 100 acres of wheat and corn. “We grow Walla Walla Sweet Onions, red and white onions,” he said, noting the operation has a current GAP Certification.
Growing primarily for retail, Enriquez Farms also ships special orders and has a local stand. The pack options are 5-, 10-, 25- and 50-pound sacks and cartons, and packing is outsourced to Tri-Fresh. “They use optical sorters and sizers, and the storage is temperature controlled,” Jr. said.