Featured image: Crookham Company ‘Caliber’ onion seed trials. Check out our seed company field day event notices in this week’s issue!
Mike Smythe with Telesis Onion Co. in Five Points told us on Aug. 16, “The goal is to have a clean floor by Sept. 2. Whites are done for the season, and we will pack yellows and reds daily until we finish Sept. 2.” Mike added, “Demand is off, but Mexico has been buying, and some Latin America countries have as well.” He said, “We are packing long day onions on yellows and reds. Yellows were heavy to colossals and supers. And we will finish with a balanced size profile. The 100-degree weather breaks tomorrow so we will finish with cooler temperatures.”
John Vlahandreas with Wada Farms reported this week from his Salem, OR, office. “We are shipping onions out of Washington and Idaho, and we are still moving onions out of California too,” John said Aug. 16. “Demand is pretty good this week, and where buyers are pulling from is all over the place. Some of it depends on freight. It’s slightly more expensive out of the Northwest, but when the potatoes get rockin’ and rollin’, those rates will come off, and it should be back to normal.” He continued, “It seems like freight rates get better if you have more than one commodity moving out of a region. Buyers are looking for mostly jumbos reds and yellows this week. I have to say this year’s Northwest harvest looks to be better than we have seen in recent years – great quality and size out of the gate, and that’s good news.” John said, “Brooks, OR, is delayed another 30 days to let their onions finish, and it’s been hot there. And they have had cloud cover with forest fires. However, right now there are a lot of onions out there.” He also said, “Eastern Canada is coming in, we’re hearing about offshore reds and New York is ramping up. Then California had good yields this season, and there are still shippers in full production. So we may see a dip in the market short term.” John concluded, “It’s a different year, and we need to be looking ahead to September and October. That’s when we’ll see what everyone has in the barn and the summer onions are finished. I think calm heads and good positioning will prevail where the market is concerned.”
Rick Greener with Greener Produce in Ketchum, ID, told us on Aug. 16 that “things are good this week.” He said, “Demand is steady. Nothing too exciting is happening out there, but we are rolling right along. Buyers are looking for the small stuff, and the market seems to be steady with some transition deals.” Rick added, “Freight is a little more expensive in the Northwest. It’s all reefers. There is still some flatbed business elsewhere. That should be changing here soon. I have to say, quality has been good all around, and we are looking at excellent quality coming out of the Northwest. That’s about it for this week.”
California/New Mexico/Idaho-E. Oregon:
Jason Pearson with Eagle Eye Produce in Nyssa, OR, told us on Aug. 16 that his team is still moving California and New Mexico onions while they get ramped up with their Washington and Eastern Oregon onions. “Demand is good this week,” he said. “Buyers want mediums, but there aren’t a lot out there. Of course, they always want jumbo reds and yellows, and whites are in very limited supply. We will be shipping whites out of Eastern Oregon in another week.” Jason continued, “It looks like our California shipper will go until the Sept. 1, and New Mexico is looking to clean up next week. California is getting hot, and with the heat and the end date in sight, they are starting to drop their prices. That in turn is affecting prices in the Northwest.” He said, “We anticipate this is short term, and hopefully when the summer deals finish, the market increases to the level that’s in line with the quality we have this year – which is excellent.”
New Mexico/Chihuahua, MX:
James Johnson with Carzalia Valley Produce in Columbus said on Aug. 16 that the Chihuahua deal is finished. “The market in Mexico on whites today is north of $20, so anything left down there is staying down there,” he said. In New Mexico, James noted, “We’ve got just a few onions left to run, mostly organics, so the light is definitely at the end of the tunnel.” Summing up the year, he added, “Overall it was a good season. Rains for the most part let us harvest timely, and we sure had good quality even in spite of the heat. We had great harvest crews and an even better pack line crew this year so we definitely feel blessed!” And James said the versatile Carbon Robotics Laser Weeder, which was used in onion fields earlier, is still busy now. “We have been running it in some organic black beans the last couple of weeks,” he said.
Don Ed Holmes with The Onion House in Weslaco, TX, said on Aug. 16 his Olathe, CO, onion grower is looking at starting after Labor Day. “We’re planning on Sept. 10,” Don Ed said. “Everything is running two weeks late. It’s good because the market is nervous.”