The Crop




Horseradish is planted in the Spring and in the Fall. 8-10 inch pieces of horseradish that are about ½ inch in diameter are put into the ground 2 feet apart in rows that are 36 inches apart.


Horseradish takes 12 -18 months to grow to its peak condition. The green leaves above the ground grow to about 3 feet tall in the year it’s in the ground, while the root grow long and wide in the earth.


Horseradish is harvested 12-18 months after it was planted in the following Spring or Fall. After its harvested some root is cut and put back into the ground, while the rest goes into cold storage in the cooler for 30 days to 8 months where it’s kept at about 37 degrees until its time to process it.

Horseradish is a root vegetable that is part of the same plant family as mustard, cabbage, wasabi, broccoli, and radishes. It grows in the ground between 12 and 18 months until the roots are big and bulky and the green leaves are above the ground are about 3 feet tall. The flavor and heat or zing of horseradish only happens when the root is grated or ground up either by chewing it or using a grater. It’s used as a condiment and ingredient for many foods from meats, poultry and fish to vegetables and even fruits and relishes.

Eau Claire, Wisconsin is an ideal location to grow horseradish because of the healthy soil and because Eau Claire is located near the 45th parallel, half way between the North Pole and the Equator and gets lots of sun during the summer and is cold in the winter.

Horseradish is grown from seed stock that is cut from the root where it is about one-half inch in diameter, and then is cut into 8-10 inch long pieces. Those finger-sized roots are planted in rows that are 36 inches apart, while the plants are about two feet apart to provide the best spacing for the harvester to efficiently harvest the horseradish without churning up too much of the soil. Horseradish is planted in the Spring and in the Fall, and it stays in the ground to grow between 12 and 18 months depending on the soil and weather in the year. Then it’s also harvested in the Spring and the Fall.

Each acre has 7,000 horseradish pieces planted for best spacing for horseradish to grow

Huntsinger Farms grows the Big Top Western variety of horseradish because it produces a bulky hearty root in the Eau Claire soil and weather. Big Top Western gets its name from the big leafy greens that grow on top of the soil while the root grows down under the soil. Horseradish greens grow to about 3 feet tall when the root is ready to harvest.

Once the horseradish roots are harvested, the tops are cut off and then piles of horseradish are conveyed into the cooler between 30 days and 8 months to stay damp and cold before it’s processed. The cooler is kept at 37 to 38 degrees Fahrenheit year-round. Then it’s cleaned again and ground up to put into jars that you see at the grocery store.

Horseradish grows best in fields that are rotated with other crops to create the best nutrients in the soil for horseradish to thrive. Huntsinger Farms grows 700 – 900 acres of horseradish every year and then plants corn, soybeans, and alfalfa in that soil for the next six years, rotating the crops every year to return the soil to the best possible dirt to grow horseradish in that time frame.

Historical Timeline


Ellis Huntsinger establishes Huntsinger Farms, returning to the farm after being a lightning rod salesman before the Great Depression started. He planted a small farm to feed his family. Ellis planted a half-acre of horseradish, the zingy root condiment his family loved to put on their food to add flavor. Ellis prepared and bottled horseradish by hand in an old milk shed behind his house and sold it locally to help augment his income during Wisconsin’s long cold winters. Soon Ellis had created a strong local market for his hand-prepared horseradish.


Ellis purchased Becky Gardens, a larger farm where he could expand the horseradish and supporting crop operation. He named the farm Silver Spring Gardens in a tip-of-the-hat to the clear water spring on the property. One night in 1941 Ellis added sweet cream to his horseradish on a lark; three weeks later after leaving it in the refrigerator, he found that the creamed horseradish still had its distinctive zing, and a much longer- shelf-life product was born.


Ellis incorporated the farm with his son Eugene Huntsinger and son-in-law Ed Bartusch. In 1953, while drought in the south-central United States decimated horseradish crops and raised prices, Silver Spring Gardens maintained their pricing and was able to pick up market share. Eugene and Ed purchased 1,000 acres of land to grow their farm to 1,500 acres.


Today Huntsinger Farms is over 7,000 acres throughout the Chippewa Valley and northern Minnesota, uses a five-to-seven-year crop rotation with corn, soybeans, and alfalfa to support the 700 acres of horseradish which produces up to 7 million pounds of horseradish per year. Huntsinger Farms and its subsidiary Silver Spring Foods, owned by Ellis’s great granddaughter Nancy Bartusch and her sons Eric and Ryan Rygg, is the largest horseradish producer and processor in the world.

From Farm to Table

Horseradish Burgers

Yields: 4
Prep Time: 10
Total Time: 20
Ingredients Instructions
  • 1 pound Ground Beef
  • 4 oz Silver Spring Prepared Horseradish
  • Splash of Soy Sauce (optional)
  • Pinch of pepper & salt (optional)
  • Toppings of choice: cheese, lettuce, tomato, onion, Silver Spring Mustard, etc.
  • 1. In medium bowl, combine ground beef, Silver Spring Prepared Horseradish, soy sauce, pepper & salt.
  • 2. Mix well. Form into patties. Grill to desired degree of doneness.
  • 3. Add your favorite toppings such as Silver Spring Mustard.
  • 4. Serve & enjoy!

Distribution Map