Early Spanish Sweet onions from the Treasure Valley of Idaho-Eastern Oregon started shipping recently, and indications are quality is excellent and volume is normal to slightly lower in some parts of the valley.
The onions look to have made it through the June heat without any problems – although there are some reports of smaller sizing.
OnionBusiness was told that overall quality of the early varieties is exceptional, and a handful of shippers were moving all varieties the week of Aug. 3 with the anticipation that more sheds will be shipping by the end of the week.
At Murakami Produce in Ontario, OR, company President and GM Grant Kitamura said, “The quality this year is excellent. Due to the heat in June, size has been marginally affected, but the heat has also contributed to nice early variety skins. Storage onions will be irrigated until the Aug. 15 with an anticipated harvest start date of Labor Day.”
Kitamura said the storage onions are finishing nicely and should have great size.
In Nyssa, OR, Snake River Produce GM Kay Riley reported seeing some good size profiles and great quality coming in early in the week. Snake River Produce is packing along with a few other shippers, and Riley said more sheds will be packing by the end of next week.
At J.C. Watson Co. in Parma, ID, Sales Manager Kent Sutherland reported on Aug. 4 that harvest has started and limited shipping will take place until the Aug. 17, when the shed will “put the pedal to the metal” with all colors and all sizes. Sutherland also said that it’s “too early to tell how the storage onions will finish,” but he did say the quality of whites he is seeing is exceptional.
Bill Trask, controller at Baker Packing Co. in Ontario, said reds seem milder than last year’s early onions. “Whites look awesome with very little green,” he said. Baker will also start with limited supply and ramp up in the next couple of weeks. Trask said customers should expect great quality — and they should be willing to pay for it. And, he said, IEOO should have a better season than last year.
In Nyssa, General Manager Shay Myers of Owyhee Produce said the size profiles he is seeing are good and the quality is excellent in the early onions, but the challenge is going to be how the storage onions finish this year since it is so early. Myers said Owyhee will have to assess whether to bring the onions in or let them cure longer.
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