Danny Ray with Ray Farms, Inc. in Glennville, GA reported on April 29 that the start to the Vidalia season has been very good for the Rays. “The start-up has been very good,” he said. “The Lord sure has blessed us with a beautiful crop this season. We made it through that bit of rain we had, and the onions look great. Customers are happy, and everything is running smoothly.” Thanks to Danny for this week’s featured image, and below are recent photos of Ray Farms’ reds.
Steve Baker with Baker & Murakami Produce in Ontario, OR, told us that demand “since last Thursday has picked up from the previous three weeks.” He added that it is “not at the levels we had before the foodservice shutdown, but we are seeing signs of businesses opening up.” And Steve said, “Smaller sizes are definitely still in greater demand than the larger sized onions.” He continued, “The onion market this week has been very steady, and I expect this to continue the rest of the week.” Baker & Murakami has good availability on the bigger sizes of yellows, Steve said, noting, “We are close to finishing our reds for the season.” When asked about the finish date for the season, he said, “We hope if business continues to be at this same pace to be finished packing somewhere between May 8-12.” And he said, “We are also very excited to announce the hiring of Trish Lovell to our sales staff. Trish brings a wealth of experience and integrity to our company. She worked for us from 1986-2004, and it is a very natural fit for Trish to be working with us again!”
Dwayne Fisher with Champion Produce Sales in Parma, ID, reported on April 29, “We are still running and shipping beautiful onions at Champion and Champion West. We had saved amazing quality onions for the late storage shipping season anticipating we would hit a decent market in March and April, and then boom.” He continued, “On a positive note, we saved the right onions for sure in terms of quality.” About the market, Dwayne said, “Market prices are such that returns are below packing and storage costs, with our farms and growers getting zero returns on most of what is getting packed. It looks like, depending on moment, that we will have onions here until May 15. We are grateful for our loyal customers staying with us and helping us finish shipping this beautiful storage crop.” And, he said, “In terms of next year’s crop, it looks fantastic. We are praying things open up soon and we get things cooking again before we start harvest in August. Our onion acreage was paid for and planted before we knew the extent of our current situation, so the ‘20/21 storage crop is coming and looks to be plentiful. If I were in another growing region or county that comes off the later part of our shipping season and haven’t planted yet, I would certainly evaluate doing so.” Dwayne added, “We hope everyone is doing well, staying safe, and eating more onions!”
Texas Rio Grande Valley/Mexico:
Don Ed Holmes with The Onion House in Weslaco said on April 29 he’s still packing Rio Grande Valley onions. “The yields were better than we anticipated,” he said, noting crews would finish clipping on April 29. “We should finish this week on a good note,” he said. “Quality of this crop has been very good. We had some excellent hybrid varieties. Demand has been good comparatively speaking with a few areas opening up.” Don Ed also said he’d finished with whites out of Torreón, Mexico, and will start Chihuahua whites next Tuesday. Those will run all of May and part of June, he added.
David DeBerry with Southwest Onion Growers in Mission said he’ll finish the Rio Grande Valley deal April 30 and will start harvest that day as well in Wintergarden. He noted the Wintergarden crop looks good, and he said, “We’ll have all three colors the middle of next week.”
And David said the Rio Grande Valley had seen “what could be record yields per acre for this year’s crop, with perfect growing conditions. But he noted there are “some people in the Valley who need help, and we’re hoping for a program to help them out. Everybody in the produce business got hurt by this [Coronavirus lockdown]” About recovery, David said, “I think our domestic issues will see a hard bounce. I think we’ll see foodservice orders pouring in as states open up.”
Imperial Valley, CA/Washington:
OnionBusiness.com was able to catch up with John Vlahandreas with Wada Farms while he was setting up his California office at Troy Caston Farms on April 29. “It was one of the easiest trips down here I’ve had,” John said. “Only 30 people were on the plane, and the roads are good, too. Everyone was taking precautions, and the trip went smoothly.” John said the Imperial Valley season is kicking off. “We are going to start running tomorrow night, and the crop looks good. We’re getting started a little late because of the rain we had at the end, but we are all ready to go now. We will start out with smaller stuff, and then as we go, the size profile will get bigger.” He said it should be a smooth transition between Washington and California. “I am still shipping out of Washington,” John said. “We’ll be going there for about another week.”
New Mexico/Chihuahua, Mexico:
James Johnson with Carzalia Valley Produce in Columbus told us on April 29 new crop onions in the Southwest are coming along well. “Chihuahua is getting started,” James said of Mexico. “Crop looks good down there, and New Mexico on track, maybe a little early.”
Colorado Western Slope/Utah:
Don Ed Holmes with the Onion House in Weslaco, TX, said on April 29 his Colorado and Utah growers have their crops in the ground, and stands are looking good. Colorado generally starts up mid- to later August, and Utah will start shipping in late October.
David DeBerry with Southwest Onion Growers in Mission, TX, said on April 29 that the onions are “up and growing” for his two Colorado growers.