Featured image: New Mexico crop progress, courtesy of James Johnson with Carzalia Valley Produce in Columbus
Idaho-E. Oregon and Washington:
Jason Pearson with Eagle Eye Produce in Nyssa, OR, told us on April 7 that demand is “just steady” this week. “Honestly, it’s a little off,” he said. “It’s the week after Easter, but there are plenty of onions out there, too. There is quite a bit of demand for reds, and yellows are moving OK.” On the market, Jason said, it should be better. “The market has dropped some this week. I think some sheds are trying to finish, and because of lighter demand, some are starting to get a little panicky. We have very good quality, and, in my opinion, the market should be a whole lot better.” On availability, Jason said Eagle Eye has all sizes available in reds and yellows. “We are tight on medium reds, but we have plenty of jumbos,” he said. Jason added that transportation is still a challenge. “It’s nothing new. It’s a daily struggle,” he said. “Rates are too high, and trucks are a challenge to get.”
Steve Baker with Baker & Murakami Produce in Ontario, OR, told us on April 7, “This week demand has been fair. Last week’s big volume out of Mexico, which was expected, has slowed our movement out of here.” Steve said the market has been “fairly steady this week,” adding, “Looks like Mexico shipments should be tailing off going into next week. Texas will be going, but it remains to be seen what volume will be coming out of there.” He said storage quality from Baker & Murakami has been excellent, and about transportation, Steve noted, “Trucks are still challenging, and the rates have not come down from last week.” He said the operation is “shooting to be done in the next three to four weeks” with the 2020-21 season.
Chris Woo with Owyhee Produce in Nyssa, OR, and Parma, ID, told us on April 7 that demand has been “ho-hum.” He said, “It was March madness, but now it’s over.” Owyhee’s Parma shed has two to three more weeks of yellow and red storage onions to ship, Chris said. “We’re still packing and shipping our onions from out of the icebox for customers who request shipments this time of year,” he said. Owyhee is also starting its asparagus program, which will run for the next three.
S. Texas and Mexico:
Don Ed Holmes with The Onion House in Weslaco, TX, said on April 7 his S. Texas deal is “just getting going,” and he said growers will be clipping more reds along with some yellows over the weekend. “We should be going good next week,” he said. Don Ed said the transition between Tampico, Mexico, and S. Texas is going smoothly, with the Mexican loads finishing next Monday. He noted that whites from Mexico will still be available, noting, “We will have our first loads out of Torreón next week.”
David DeBerry with Southwest Onion Growers in Mission said on April 7 it’s been in the 80s in the Rio Grande Valley all week, and he said his operation is “completely into the Texas crop now, and we’re finished in Mexico.” He said in Texas “there’s still some size and yield issues due to the freeze, but normal size and yields are right around the corner, and from there on out it will be good, better and best.” He said in the Eagle Pass area the crop is excellent, and he said, “We’re still looking at a May 5-10 start with normal or above yield, and we should start with all three colors.” David also said the new facility in S. Texas is “very, very busy and at plus or minus 10 percent of full capacity every day.” Transportation is still “erratic on the side of almost non-existent.” He said, “There’s never an extra truck, and you can’t really county on a lot of trucks until they’re backed in and loading. Demand is so high for drivers now – one builder I know told me there’s a six-month wait from order to delivery on items for new homes.” At the same time, he said, the number of trucks on the highway hauling durable goods is the highest he’s ever seen. “I think the long-term solution could be another set of train tracks.”
Doug Bulgrin with Gumz Farms in Endeavor told us on April 7 that demand has been steady this week. “Demand has been fairly steady for us this week,” he said. “We are moving yellows in all sizes from pre-packs to jumbos, but medium yellows have been moving pretty well. Our quality continues to be excellent. We have been bringing onions out of our cold storages and we expect to be shipping into May.” Doug said the market has also been steady. “For Gumz, the market remains steady,” Doug said. “Our freight advantage helps a little bit, but we’re looking for some shippers to finish up so we can see some increase to the market here at the end.” He continued, “Overall, we have a lot to be thankful for this season. We’ve had good demand all along, and the market has really been pretty decent. So we feel good about it.” On planting, Doug said Gumz has about 300 acres in the ground. “We’ve had near-perfect planting weather lately and we’re a stopping point this week because we expect some rain, which is great for what we have in the ground,” he said. “As growers, we all want to hurry up and get everything in, but so far so good.” Wearing his NOA president’s hat, Doug wanted to remind our OnionBusiness readers that the summer NOA Nashville meeting is just around the corner in July and encourages everyone to participate. OnionBusiness will be running a story about the event in next week’s issue.
We caught up with Danny Ray with Ray Farms, Inc in Glennville while he was working hard in the fields harvesting Georgia Sweets this week. “We’re harvesting yellow Georgia Sweets this week, and we’ll start packing on Friday,” he said. “The product looks excellent, and the weather has been good for harvest. It’s been in the ’80s and dry.” Danny continued, “Some customers are waiting for the Vidalia start date, but we do have customers putting in orders for Georgia Sweets, so we are working hard to bring them in. So far, things are running smoothly.” Many thanks to Danny for sending us photos of this week’s harvest activities.
Michael Locati with Locati Farms and Pacific Agra Farms told us on April 7 the crop is looking very good. “We finished transplanting right before Easter,” he said. “The fall seeded are growing well, and we have more acreage for our Rosé Walla Walla Sweets in both fall seeded and transplants. We’re hoping to extend that season.” He said the weather has been warm but dry. “We could use some rain,” he said. “We’ve started irrigation a little early.” He said water from good snowpack is adequate for the spring irrigation.
California and Idaho-E. Oregon:
Chris Woo with Owyhee Produce in Nyssa, OR, and Parma, ID, said the Southern California desert deal is “cranking up for an April 15 start,” and he said Treasure Valley weather has been “decent” recently. He noted that in Idaho-E. Oregon, “Growers have been busy planting onion seed, laying drip tape and spraying early weeds.”
Jason Pearson with Eagle Eye Produce in Nyssa, OR, reported on April 7 that Eagle Eye’s Imperial Valley deal will start up at the end of the month. “The crop is looking good in California, and we will be set to go at the end of the month,” Jason said. “In the Treasure Valley, we just finished planting and though we had a little bit of windy weather, we got everything in the ground and are good to go here.” Many thanks to Jason and Dallin Klingler for sending recent Eastern Oregon planting photos of Dan Corn’s fields.
New Mexico and Chihuahua, Mexico:
James Johnson with Carzalia Valley Produce in Columbus sent us great photos of the late May crop in New Mexico as well as the mid-May northern Chihuahua crop grown by El Vikingo. James said the Delicias, Chihuahua, crop will start on April 26.
New Mexico photos
Colorado Western Slope:
Don Ed Holmes with The Onion House in Weslaco, TX, said his Western Slope grower, John Harold, is almost finished with planting, as are the crews in Corinne, UT.
David DeBerry with Southwest Onion Growers in Mission, TX, said his growers in the Delta Valley are “all planted or close to,” with the season expected to start around Labor Day.
Many thanks to Robert Bell with Western Onion Sales, Inc. in Camarillo, CA for sending us photos of plating in the UK this week. Not the best weather conditions but it looks like they are getting it done. Thanks, Robert!