Idaho-Eastern Oregon Onion Committee members on Feb. 5 named Ken Teramura and Ray Winegar to the region’s Onion Hall of Fame.
Both grew the crop for many years in the Cairo area between Ontario and Nyssa, Ore.
Teramura, 74, said he is honored by the recognition and likes the direction in which the region’s sizable onion industry is headed.
“It’s forward-moving with younger people, from growing to processing,” Teramura said. Onion packing and shipping have become “very sophisticated,” featuring increased automation.
He and his family for years grew onions, beets, wheat and potatoes on around 400 acres. He always enjoyed farming, to which he returned after earning a degree in agricultural engineering at Oregon State University in 1968.
“I liked the part about being independent, being an independent business,” Teramura said. “And you get to meet a lot of people.”
He always enjoyed “just growing the crop and problem-solving,” he said. Memorable key developments in the industry during his career included moving from broadcast to targeted, GPS-enabled, input applications as well as precision-planting techniques for onions.
Twenty years ago, Teramura and four others founded Snake River Produce, a Nyssa, Ore., packer-shipper to which he still offers guidance.
He and Winegar grew up together and later served on onion industry leadership boards.
“It’s quite an honor to receive that,” Winegar said of the Hall of Fame recognition. His father, Earl, was a past inductee.
“I farmed pretty much all my life, and so that was just an important part of my life,” Ray Winegar said.
He farmed and stored onions with his father, attended Brigham Young University, survived a brain tumor operation and kept farming.
“We raised our family here, and it has been the main part of our lives,” said Winegar, 75. He and his wife, Vicki, raised their four children on a farm that over the years featured varying percentages of onions, sugar beets, grains and beans.
Farming “has changed a lot,” he said. “Everything that I used to do when I started farming pretty much was all done by hand.”