California San Joaquin Valley:
Cindy Elrod with Peri & Sons reported on Aug. 1 that the California facility in Firebaugh is finishing up with intermediate varieties this week and next. “Overall size profile has been smaller than a typical season,” Cindy said. She added, “Overall quality has been good. We’re harvesting the long days now and will pack once the intermediates are all cleared. There will be heavy volume of yellows the next few weeks and heavy volume of reds by mid-August. We should finish harvest around Aug. 25, and we’re projecting a start day for Nevada of Sept. 4.”
Michael Locati with Pacific Agra Pack told us on Aug. 2 the operation will be shipping through Walla Walla River Packing for another 20 days with its 2017 Walla Walla Sweets. Mike said movement, which had slowed somewhat after the Fourth of July, had picked up again, and pricing is “steady.” He said, “We’re midway through our transplants, and quality is looking really good.” When the Walla Walla season winds down later this month, the shed will be packing hybrid reds and yellows, and the Peruvian sweet season will start later in the year. “And when we finish this year’s Walla Walla Sweet crop, we’ll get in the fields and plant our fall seeded that will overwinter,” Michael said.
Brenden Kent with Sunset Produce in Prosser reported that Sunset started shipping on Monday, July 31. “We are very happy with the quality,” Brenden said. “The market is steady, and we expect prices to hold. Sizing is a little off on these first onions harvested, but we expect that to change as we get further into packing.” This week Sunset is packing mostly yellows and sweets.
“We are packing yellows and our ‘Heavenly Sweets,’ which have become very popular,” Brenden said. “The whites and reds are tight all around the area, but availability should increase into the middle or end of next week.” He said Sunset will begin packing some of its storage varieties around Aug. 21. “On the earlier storage varieties we don’t keep them very long,” he said. “Usually by Labor Day they’ll be shipped. Then we will be into our traditional long-day varieties.” Brenden also noted yields are down this year.
Chris Franzoy with Young Guns Inc. and Billy the Kid LLC in Hatch reported on July 27, “Our New Mexico onion crop is doing well, we are harvesting our direct seed varieties and the quality looks great. Harvest should wrap up around Aug. 25.” Chris said, “We start shipping Washington onions mid-August and are looking forward to a great season with plenty of retail and foodservice onions.” The multi-item operation also started shipping its famous Hatch Valley peppers.
Ryan Fagerberg with Fagerberg Farms/Fagerberg Produce reported from Eaton that the operation is “very busy” with the new season that started the first of the month. “We are running, and things are going well so far. We’re very busy,” he said. “All colors and sizes are available, including our Colorado Sweets.”
Grant Kitamura with Baker & Murakami Produce Co. in Ontario, OR, reported on Aug. 2 the crop is progressing with good quality. “We are two weeks late, but the onions are bulbing,” Grant said. “We have had some heat during the middle of the day, but we haven’t had any adverse weather to affect quality.” Grant said yields will be down this season. “Last year we had a bumper crop, and that definitely won’t be repeated this year,” he said. “Now we just need warm weather throughout the month of September for the storage onions to cure well, and we’ll be good to go.”