Featured image: Peruvian onion field, photo courtesy of Cliff Riner with G&R Farms in Glennville, GA
New Mexico and California Central Valley:
Jason Pearson with Eagle Eye Produce’s Nyssa, OR, office told us on July 31 New Mexico is still shipping “with very good quality.” He added, “We’re also bringing in onions from the Central Valley of California, and quality there is very good as well.” Eagle Eye will continue to ship from those areas as it transitions to the Treasure Valley, he said.
Brenden Kent with Sunset Produce, Inc. in Prosser reported to us upon his return from the PMA Foodservice Expo in Monterey, CA, on July 31. “The PMA Foodservice show is always good for us,” Brenden said. “The connections are great, and the venue is fantastic.” He reported that Sunset is currently shipping, and the season start is going very well. “We are getting in on a good market and shipping our sweets, yellows and some red and white onions too,” Brenden said. “We are increasing our production daily and should be going full steam by the end of next week. Our customers have been excited to get started with the new crop, and they have been eager to make the switch, which has a lot to do with our quality. We had good growing weather through the summer and didn’t have any bouts with extreme heat. And while we can’t say we will have a bumper crop, the quality of this year’s crop is excellent. Quality is everything in our business, and when you have that, you can expect a good season with plenty of opportunities.”
Michael Locati with Pacific Agra Farms told us on July 31, “We’re getting ready to wrap up harvest a little early and will probably be done by Aug. 13.” Michael said the season has been good, with “a beautiful summer to harvest.” He said, “The crews have been going, and the onions are very good. We can’t complain. Our Rosé Walla Walla Sweet went over really well with great reception at retail.”
Game on! Herb Haun with Haun Packing in Weiser, ID, told us on July 31, “We’re harvesting a few now as we speak, and they’ll go out the door on Monday.” First in are yellows, with reds and whites next week, he said. “For us it’s a few days early,” Herb said. Much of the Treasure Valley saw a later than normal planting this year, but Herb said, “We had a beautiful summer and great weather once we got them in.” The onions “are looking very good with at least average size and yields. It’s a good early crop, and we’re ready to roll.”
Jason Pearson with Eagle Eye Produce in Nyssa, OR, also told us on July 31 that harvest crews are “bringing in onions, and we’ll start running the middle of next week.” He said Eagle Eye will start with yellows, followed by reds 10 days later and whites in early September. “Quality is really good,” he said.
John Harris with Paradigm Fresh in Fort Morgan reported on July 29, “I wanted to wait until I felt like I had a full understanding of the market this morning before I gave my 2 cents. Let’s start with Washington: They have a few yellows and reds this morning. Not much volume up there until the end of the week or beginning of next, but there are shippers running onions. New Mexico came out with a full head of steam this morning.” He said that reds “are weak everywhere [and] New Mexico is not different, although they are definitely higher than California. Jumbo whites and jumbo yellows still remain a hard $20 bill from pretty much everyone. Medium yellows and medium whites are quite a different story as there seems to be deals on those items with most shippers.”
Cliff Riner with G&R Farms in Glennville, GA, told us July 31 Vidalias will continue to ship through mid- to late August, with the transition to Peru coming when Vidalia cleans up. “Our Vidalia quality is holding up really well,” Cliff said. He said the supplies include “a few organics, and that quality has held up really well, too.” Demand for Vidalias has been good across the board all season, he said. “It’s been steady all summer, and we sure can’t complain,” Cliff commented. “We have brought in a few containers of Peruvian onions and are getting more every week. They will remain in storage until Vidalia finishes up, which all depends on demand and how many orders we get.” The Peruvian onions will likely go through February and possibly into early March, he said, adding that G&R could fill with Texas and Mexico prior to going into Georgia Sweets before Vidalias start up again in 2020. View Peruvian onion field photos from Cliff below:
Jason Vee with Vee’s Marketing in Superior, WI, included in his perspective this week a report this week on the International Allium Conference, which included the National Onion Association Summer Convention, in Madison, WI. He said, “I attended my first NOA meeting in Madison last week. That was overdue. I haven’t done much traveling since I started this job in August, 2006. But I’m traveling more now, and I really enjoy meeting people in person that I have only dealt with through phone and email.” He added, “If I’m being honest, the talks were a little too scientific for me to get much value from a marketer’s perspective. However, I did have one long, outdoor meeting at the Union Terrace with my onion peers where we covered lots of ground from markets to acres, people, marketing strategy and leadership. And then to make sure they got the full Madison experience, we ordered a Fishbowl from Wando’s.” Jason said he particularly appreciated the tour of Gumz Farms. “Gumz did a great job hosting the tour as well,” he said. “It’s a dog a pony show, so we expect things to be orderly. But I have been to Gumz before when it wasn’t a show, and it looked a lot like that. They are proud of what they have built in Endeavor, and it shows. Good on them.” About the current market, Jason gave his take: “Back to reality and back at my desk, the inevitable is happening. We held onto exceptionally high markets from March to August. Now we are getting a refresher in market decline. Reds are affected the most. It’s normal to have market decline in August during the Northwest harvest. It’s overlapping districts, and it’s fast. This one is probably going to sting more than most because of our high starting point.” While he said that reds “are the worst off,” Jason added, “Yellows are slipping. Whites had a small market correction, but that’s probably not enough considering the current market climate.” And he said, “Regarding districts, New Mexico has about two weeks left. California has lots. And the Northwest is just getting started. I loaded my first direct-seed Washington onions on Friday last week. I should have reds, whites, yellows, and sweets in Washington next week.”
Jason Pearson with Eagle Eye’s Nyssa, OR, office told us on July 31 the Mattawa crop is “a little late this year” and expects to start in September. “Everything looks very good,” he said, adding Eagle Eye will have all colors and sizes from Washington.