Featured image: Eastern Oregon onion harvest following recent storms, photo courtesy of Chris Woo. Chris notated, “Fields drying out and growers getting back into the fields to harvest.”
Matt Murphy with L&M in Raleigh, NC, told us on Aug. 30 that the Warden, WA, program is running full steam and shipping all colors and sizes. “We have been very busy for the last two weeks,” he said. “Much of it is due to heavy demand with the upcoming holiday and Idaho getting off to a late start. We are shipping all colors and sizes, and we are seeing the size lean heavy to jumbos for yellows, which also goes for white and reds.” Matt continued, “Of course, we are shipping our short-term stuff right now, and quality looks very good out of the gate, so we are anticipating another good season in Warden.” Matt commented on the market. “It seems like the sloppiness has moved out of the market as California and New Mexico get cleaned up,” he said. “The market seems to be picking up, and yes, the market could be better, but at least we have some solid footing now, and that’s a good thing.” On transportation, Matt said it’s gotten a little more challenging. “We are having a little tougher time getting trucks, but we can find them,” Matt said. “Right now, it seems we are just paying slightly more for them.”
Jason Pearson with Eagle Eye Produce Company in Nyssa, OR, told us on Aug. 30 that they are in production in Washington and Eastern Oregon and running full steam this week. “We are completely dried out in Eastern Oregon and running full steam in both of our Northwest areas,” he said. “New Mexico is done, and we are shipping just a small amount out of California. Demand has been very high this week. Of course, we are finished shipping for holiday business, but demand continues to be brisk. Buyers are looking for medium reds and whites, and we are tight on those right now, with more coming next week.” Jason added, “The overall crop is leaning to jumbos and good sizing.” On the market, Jason commented that it could be better. “We are always looking out for our growers, and it seems like the market is slightly trending downward. And that is something we never like to see, particularly when there is no reason for it.” On transportation, Jason said it’s been a little rougher this week. “Getting trucks has been a little tricky, but we are getting it done. We are paying a little higher rates, so be prepared,” he said.
Dan Borer with Keystone Fruit Marketing reported in from his Walla Walla sales office this week. “We are rockin’ and rollin’ with our Northwest program and shipping all colors and good volumes of yellows and reds,” he said. “Sizing and quality looks very good so far, and we’re off to a good start.” He continued, “We are shipping our early stuff, so we won’t know what we are looking at storage-wise until we get further into the season, but all things point to a normal market with a wide breadth of customers.” Dan noted that Peru is also off to a good start. “So far, so good with our Peru shipments,” he said. “Our movement right now is going primarily to the East Coast, but we are bringing in Mayan Sweet on the West Coast for our retail customers in the Southwest, and quality is also good. So far, no complaints on our end going into our transition to new crop.”
Rick Greener with Greener Produce in Ketchum, ID, told us on Aug. 30 that his team has been very busy this week. “We are finished up with New Mexico and just finishing up sales out of California,” he said. “With Idaho trickling in after the rains, we are moving most of the onions out of Washington and expecting Michigan to start shipping in about 10 days, which will help with our East Coast customers. The buyer’s demand is mostly for the small stuff – mediums – and in that regard, I have no idea why the market isn’t higher. But I guess the overall market for us is staying fairly steady, which is good.” He continued, “Quality is also good. California has had great quality all along, and we are seeing very good quality out of the gate for Northwest shipments, too, which is a plus.” On transportation, Rick said it’s been easy. “Booking reefers out of the Northwest costs more, but we are getting trucks, and it’s been going pretty smoothly for us.”
Bronx, New York:
Lou Getzelman with Canyon Sales Co. on the Hunts Point Market told us on Aug. 30, “We’ve seen good demand continue this week, and we are mostly pulling out of California, Washington and New York – but we’ve started to see some early varieties from Idaho at the Hunts Point market.” He added, “The jumbo yellow market is doing better than it did last week and the week prior partly because there is just not much coming out of the Northwest into the Northeast. There are onions there, but that rain really did put a damper on supply.” Lou went on to say, “A lot of shippers have had to focus on contract and program business and really have not been able to move any additional loads. They have some good weather coming at the end of this week, so hopefully, they can get back out in the fields as soon as things dry up. That has been the main challenge we have heard.” And he said, “With supplies tightening up, the yellow market has rebounded. Red onions are holding up, and white onions have gained strength. All indications are that the quality is going to be excellent this year out of Idaho, with good size. That is pleasant news to hear because last year it was a bit of a struggle to find big onions.” Looking at transportation, he said, “It has been relatively stable out of the Northwest since they have started; we haven’t really seen any spikes or drops. We’ll keep plugging away!”
Don Ed Holmes with The Onion House in Weslaco, TX, told us on Aug. 30 his Colorado Western Slope deal will kick off the week of Sept. 5, stating with reds. Yellows and whites will come in the following week, he said.
David DeBerry with Southwest Onion Growers in McAllen, TX, said on Aug. 30 he’s looking at a Sept. 10 start with his Delta, CO, growers. “All colors from the start,” David said. “The onions are normal/average size and yield.”
Colorado and Kansas:
Matt Murphy, with L&M in Raleigh, NC, told us on Aug. 30 that the Colorado and Kansas programs are slightly delayed. “We had a bit of rain in Colorado and Kansas, so we are looking at some later start dates for both areas,” Matt said. “We will start Colorado on Sept. 4 and Ulysses, KS. on Sept. 11. The crop looks good in both areas, so we anticipate a good season with normal sizing and yields.”
Doug Bulgrin with Gumz Farms in Endeavor provided his report on Aug. 30. “We are starting to harvest tomorrow,” he said. “We are looking at decent size profile, and quality looks very good. We will start shipping on Sept. 11, starting out with medium and jumbo yellows.”