Featured images: Idaho-E. Oregon crop progress. Our thanks to Tiffany Cruickshank with Snake River Produce in Nyssa, OR, for photos this week.
Walla Walla Sweet/NW Sweets and Hybrids:
Dan Borer with Keystone Fruit Marketing in Walla Walla, WA, told us on Aug. 4 that Keystone is finishing up its Walla Walla program. “We have had a great Walla Walla Sweet season, and we will be finishing up at the end of this week and the first part of next week,” Dan said. “We have started selling Northwest sweets and have just started getting our Northwest hybrids going. On hybrids, our growers are bringing in yellows, and of course, as the weeks go on, we will be picking up the volume and adding colors.” He continued, “Demand has been good this week, and very good for onions in our sweet program. The market remains strong on sweets as well. If you look at the numbers, over the course of the summer, onion movement has been at or above the 10-year average, so we need to remember that the onion category is doing well.” And, Dan said, “As far as the new crop goes, yields could be down in the Northwest due to summer growing conditions, but it’s hard to tell, and it’s tough for anyone to speculate this early in the game.”
Idaho-E. Oregon/Washington/New Mexico/California:
Jason Pearson with Eagle Eye Produce in Nyssa, OR. reported on Aug. 4 that Eagle Eye is moving onions out of California, New Mexico, Washington and has started shipping in Eastern Oregon. “We just started shipping yellows and reds today in Eastern Oregon,” he said. “We shipped all that we bought in from Friday and Saturday, and we had some rain, so it looks like we won’t be shipping again from here until the middle part of next week. Starting out the size profile is on the smaller side, but within about a week, we will be getting into the larger stuff and will be adding whites toward the end of August.” Jason continued, “We are shipping daily out of Washington, and we continue to ship out of California and New Mexico until around Aug. 20.” He said, ‘There has been plenty of demand out there, and for that reason the market should come up. I know the folks in California and New Mexico are looking to get out, but with good demand, they shouldn’t be dropping prices. They can get it, so they need to pick it up.
Rick Greener with Greener Produce in Ketchum gave us his report on Aug. 4. “We are selling out of California and New Mexico and getting our customers to make the transition up to the Northwest,” Rick said. “Right now, we are just trying to get the best quality with the best FOB for our customers, and so far we’ve had some really good quality yellows coming out of the Northwest, making great deliveries.” He continued, “The size profile there is on the smaller side, and there aren’t going to be a lot of jumbos or colossals for a while. We should be adding Northwest reds and whites to the mix next week.” Rick said demand has been average this week. “I guess they call it the dog days of summer,” he said. “There are a lot of regions shipping right now, and with any transition, buyers are waiting to see how the transition goes. I will say that this summer has been the best one we’ve had in the three years we’ve been in business. We’ve moved a lot of onions. I expect next week, buyers will ramp it up again.” On the market, he said, “It’s steady with potential spot buys. There are some shippers that have onions they can’t sit on and some shippers want to clean up and finish, and so there are a few spot buys going on out there, but for the most part the market is steady.” He concluded, “Freight is still high, but it does seem like rates could be coming off a bit. We’ll see.”
Doug Bulgrin with Gumz Farms in Endeavor said on Aug. 4 that Gumz is currently moving onions out of California and Washington this week. “Demand is a little slower than last week, but it’s still OK,” he said. “There are a lot of regions shipping, and it’s a transition right now so that’s pretty typical.” Doug added, “Quality has been improving, and the market has backed off some, but we expect to see an increase and the market firming up as we get further into the transition.”
Danny Ray with Ray Farms Inc in Glennville told us on Aug. 4 that demand has been steady for the family’s Vidalias. “We’ve been moving our onions at a steady pace,” he said. “Our quality has held up well, and we’ve kept up sales with our regular customers.” He went on to say, “The market has remained good. It has eased up a little bit, but we’ve done pretty well, and we can’t complain. All in all, we’ve had a good season. Any time you can make a little money, you’ve had a good season.” Danny said Ray Farms will be shipping until the end of the month. “We expect to be going at our current pace all month, so we should be shipping until the end of August,” he said.
Doug Bulgrin with Gumz Farms in Endeavor told us on Aug. 4 that the Gumz crop is coming along nicely. “We are shooting for a Sept. 1 startup. We could use just a little more rain, but the crop is in good shape. Like some other areas, our size profile may be on the smaller side, but we’ll just have to see when we get closer to harvest. We do expect to have a very nice crop this season.”
Colorado Western Slope:
David DeBerry with Southwest Onion Growers in McAllen, TX, said on Aug. 4 his Colorado growers are “on target to harvest all three colors the last week of August.” David said the deal is expected to run to Christmas this year.
Robert Sakata with Sakata Farms in Brighton told us on Aug. 4 his operation has had a good growing season thus far, and he expects to start harvest mid- to late September. “We’re thankful we had a wet spring. A lot of areas are experiencing drought,” R.T. said. He said all three colors are being grown, with the split 75 percent yellow and the balance split between reds and whites. The deal is primarily local/regional, he added, and the shed usually ships into February. Robert said labor has been OK this year.
Dan Borer with Keystone Fruit Marketing in Walla Walla, WA, told us on Aug. 4 that Keystone’s Mayan Sweets will arrive stateside at the end of this month or early next month. “Our Peruvian onions are on the water now, and we expect them to arrive toward the end of August or the first part of September,” he said. “We expect a good Mayan Sweet season. We’re told the growers in Peru are having a good season, and our customers are looking forward to receiving them.”
David DeBerry with Southwest Onion Growers in McAllen, TX, said his growers in the Tampico region are getting ready to plant their onions for the 2022 season, and he said field prep will start up in S. Texas soon for next spring’s season start as well.