As appeared in “The Packer” on July 30, 2012
Evolving for 100 years.
For the past 100 years, the fourth-generation, family-owned J.C. Watson Company has been an established name in the fresh produce industry. The company has risen to challenges, brought about innovations and introduced upgrades and expansions throughout the last century, all leading the family to become a leader in the sweet Spanish onion industry.
Started by James Christopher (J.C.) Watson in 1912, the company’s introduction into the produce business began with two humble plots used for an apple orchard. J.C. soon set up a packing facility and moved on to marketing various commodities such as lettuce, peas, plums, and other fruits and vegetables. Then, in the mid 1930s, the Parma, Idaho-based company turned their attention to onions, some of the first grown in the Treasure Valley, and began to focus on onions, apples and early russet potatoes, a model the Watson family followed for years.
In 2005, the company narrowed its focus once again, this time creating the goal of becoming a year-round onion supplier for its customers. With the focus entirely on providing quality onions, the company has settled into its new role in the industry.
In 2010, the Watson family created J.C. Watson Packing Company and Watson Agriculture Inc, two additional companies that joined smoothly into the company’s already-established legacy of growing, providing and packing a superior onion for its customers. Now, as the company celebrates 100 years in the industry, it looks to continue its mission of maximizing opportunities and earning trust and satisfaction for growers and customers with exceptional products and services.
With advanced equipment, including photo-assisted packing, J.C. Watson Company has proven itself to be a valuable provider of premium onions, building a reputation over the last 100 years as a company dedicated to integrity, quality and a willingness to meet the needs of its customers — no matter the risk involved.
The company proved that dedication with a leap of faith in 2000, expanding and renovating its packing shed after a devastating loss the year before during a bad onion market. Jon Watson, president, was confident in his decision to move forward, and the risk paid off, providing J.C. Watson Company with a stable foundation for the future at a time when other onion shippers were forced to leave the market.
Always at the forefront of innovative packing solutions, in 2005 the company began placing stickers on individual onions, despite skepticism from others in the industry. At the time, president Jon Watson said he wanted to “do something different and make things interesting,” and although stickers on fruit were common at that time, this was a real leap ahead in “stickering” an onion.
Family has always been an important part of the J.C. Watson Company, beginning with James Christopher (J.C.), and transitioning to James Frederick, son of J.C., in the 1950s. Then, in 1973, Jon C. Watson, grandson of J.C., joined the family business after earning his degree in business and applied engineering from the University of Idaho. He now serves as the president.
In 2009, Brad Watson, great-grandson of J.C. also joined the company as vice president of operations, representing the fourth generation of the Watson family to provide quality onions, superior customer service and satisfaction to customers. Emily, ( Jon Watson’s daughter) named after her greatgrandmother, J.C.’s wife, graduated from Colorado State University in 2009 with a degree in organizational management and marketing. She is currently employed by Nunhems as a marketing specialist for onions, lettuce and spinach.
With this commitment to a legacy of family values and providing the best quality produce possible, J.C. Watson Company proves its position as an industry leader in the onion business. As the company celebrates its 100th anniversary, the family is proud to remember its heritage and the ancestors who settled in the rich community of Parma all those years before. Though the business has evolved and grown through the decades, the main goals remain the same as the family looks forward to an exciting and successful future of continuing to offer premium products to its customers. 4 Generations of Family Pride J.C. Watson Company Evolving for 100 years.