Featured image: Kameshige & Sons Farms crop progress near Ontario, Oregon, photo courtesy of Kameshige & Sons Farms
Brad Sumner with Pacific Coast Trading Co. in Portland told us on Aug. 24 that the company is now shipping out of Lancaster, CA, and Washington. He said he’s seeing “steady demand, and medium yellows still a hot item. Gotta buy jumbos to get mediums.” Brad also commented on the market, saying “Red jumbo, medium and yellow jumbo market are slightly down, but medium yellows are still really good. And whites are steady.” Quality is good, and he said, “There have been no complaints, and we have repeat business!” On transportation, Brad said, is seeing the market for Washington to California trucks “definitely on the rise as more sheds fire up or as they increase volume.” And he noted Pacific Coast Trading Co. is gearing up for a transition as “California is finishing up over the next few weeks and early. Northwest, here we come.”
Dan Borer with Keystone Fruit Marketing in Walla Walla, WA, reported in on Aug. 24 telling us that Keystone completed its Walla Walla Sweet program last week. “We had a good season with our Walla Walla program, and now we are transitioning to Northwest hybrids and Northwest sweets,” Dan said. “Demand has been very good for Northwest product. It is definitely too early to tell how the crop will shake out in terms of size and yields, but the onions are moving well and the market is really doing very good too.” He continued, “The markets are looking good for this start up so all in all, we are in good shape.” Dan noted that Keystone has also started its Peruvian deal. “We have kicked off our Peru program, and we are actively selling our Mayan Sweets on the East Coast right now. Quality looks good, and we anticipate a good season.”
Dan Phillips with Eagle Eye/Central Produce in Payette, ID, told us on Aug. 24 that Central got started up with its program on Monday. “We are getting started in a slow way this week, but we do have all sizes and colors out of the gate,” he said. “It’s a little tight on the larger stuff this week because the one field we harvested had some smaller profile yellows, but that is only one field. Also, whites are tight because they are a little behind the yellows and reds on harvest. Still, it’s a little too early in the season to make any determination on how overall yields and size profiles will be.” Dan said, “Demand has been very good this week. Demand definitely exceeds supply and we are sold out for the week. The market is very, very good right now. Quality is nice as well. Everyone does need to remember that all the onions coming out of the valley are green top and it will be a bit before we get into the storage stuff, but the quality is looking very good.” From the Nyssa, OR, office of Eagle Eye Produce, Jason Pearson, Onion Commodity Sales Manager, added, “We’re happy that even though the growing season was not ideal, our growers faced the challenges head on and turned out some quality onions. With the cool, wet spring, peak sizing will trend smaller, and yields will be impacted slightly, but expect great quality this season from Eagle Eye Produce.” Jason’s Nyssa colleague, Director of Business Development Joe Ange, said, “As a company, we’ve never been better positioned than we are today. The hard work and investments we have made throughout the past few years have led to a bolstered supply, more efficient processes, and more consistent packs year-round for our customers throughout the globe We’re excited about the upcoming season, and we’re excited to continue to build out our onion program further.” Dan also addressed transportation, saying he thinks it could be a little rough for the season start. “Eagle Eye has its own transportation department, so we are lucky that way, and I am not directly involved,” he said. “But generally, when you make a transition to another growing area, it takes a couple of weeks for the trucks to get all of their routes switched over and for the availability to pick up. Of course, just like in the past, transportation is never easy.” OnionBusiness also received an update from Eagle Eye Produce that said, “Eagle Eye Produce’s teams in Washington are also currently hard at work harvesting their red and yellow onion crops. White onion harvest will start in the coming weeks.” Eagle Eye Produce has added to its retail offering for 2022, now packing everything from 2lb to 50lb packs.”
Colorado Western Slope:
Don Ed Holmes with The Onion House in Weslaco, TX, told us on Aug. 24 that John Harold, his Western Slope grower, is looking at early September for a season start. “We’re looking like Tuesday after Labor Day, or sometime that week,” Don Ed said. The date sticks to the traditional timeline, and Don Ed has also told us the crop looks great this year.
David DeBerry with Southwest Onion Growers in McAllen, TX, said on Aug. 24 his Delta, CO, growers, Ahlberg Farms and Hines Farms, will kick off the season Sept. 6-8. “We’ll start with all three colors,” he said. “Sizing is normal to maybe a little larger than normal bulbs.”
Zach Mason with Zach Mason Farms in Fowler said on Aug. 24 he’ll start grading onions before the end of the month. “The grader will start running this coming Monday, Aug. 29, weather permitting,” he said. Zach added that the crop “looks very good, but it doesn’t count until they’re on somebody’s plate 1,000 miles away.”