The Odessa Record -

Odessa's newest business has open house


Last updated 2/8/2018 at 2:23pm

--Photos for The Record by Terrie Schmidt-Crosby.

Area farmers and other interested persons attend the open house given by Hinrichs Trading Company upon becoming a tenant of the Odessa Industrial Park.

Hinrichs Trading Company opened its doors to the Odessa community and to potential growers of garbanzo beans (also known as chickpeas) on January 31 at the Odessa Industrial Park.

The Hinrichs family has been involved in agriculture in the Palouse for five generations. Their company headquarters is in Pullman.

The company was established in the early 1900s by Max Hinrichs, Sr. for processing grass seed. His son Max, Jr. switched to processing wheat seed in 1925, and his sons Bob and Don Hinrichs also later joined the company.

From the 1950s through the end of the last century, the company added peas and lentils, with chickpeas or garbanzo beans increasingly becoming its main product from about 1990 on.

Bob's son Phil Hinrichs is the current president of Hinrichs Trading Company and runs the company along with his brother Max, who is director of export sales. Phil's sons Phillip, Jr. and Kyle have also joined the company management team. Phil and Max's father Bob Hinrichs is still engaged in the company as well.

The company sells about 70 percent of its product within the U.S. and exports the remaining 30 percent. Packagers, roasters, canners, flour producers and hummus makers in the U.S. and around the world buy Hinrichs' products. Visitors to the open house came away with free samples of Bush brand canned chickpeas, Red Mill brand chickpea flour, ready-made dried and salted chickpeas and snack packs of hummus and crackers. Even the crackers were made from chickpea flour, offering another gluten-free alternative for folks with gluten intolerance issues.

For the past several years, American consumers have continued to buy more chickpea products than ever, as hummus, a blend of mashed chickpeas, sesame seed paste (also known as tahini), vegetable oil and spices, has become a trendy food due to its high protein and low fat content. The company has been working hard to meet demand. In 2010, the company's market for chickpeas for hummus grew by 15 percent and by another 17 percent in 2011. In 2012, growth went up by a whopping 56 percent, with more moderate growth since 2013.

With its new sign attached to the building, Hinrichs Trading is ready for business as the company expands northward from its base in Pullman.

Hinrichs Trading gets chickpeas from growers in seven states, with Washington and Idaho supplying about 80 percent of its U.S. processing capacity. Hinrichs processing plants operate around the clock.

The company also invests in research, resulting in new developments and applications that lead to building new partnerships and expanding the market. People are buying crackers, dip, soups, flour and roasted or canned chickpeas.

The audience at the Odessa open house was made up mostly of farmers wanting to know more about chickpeas and their growing conditions. New varieties recently developed at Washington State University can even be grown in dryland conditions, so both irrigators and non-irrigators showed an interest in growing chickpeas. The Hinrichs team, for its part, was ready to sign contracts with growers that same day once all of the questions had been answered and concerns put to rest.


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