Featured imaged: Idaho-Eastern Oregon crop progress courtesy of Tiffany Cruickshank with Snake River Produce in Nyssa, OR
Danny Ray with Ray Farms, Inc. in Glennville, GA, told us on June 30 that his company is still shipping July 4 holiday orders this week. “This our peak part of the season,” Danny said. “Demand has been very good – not as good as last year, but still pretty good. Last year, during the pandemic, everyone stayed home during the holiday and cooked with our onions. This year, more people are getting out on the road, so retail demand hasn’t been quite as good. I think most retail onion folks would agree on that one. Still, it’s been what I would say is normal.” He continued, “The market is normal too. Most years, we see a little more increase than what we’ve seen on our storage varieties, but the increase hasn’t been bad at all.” And, Danny added “We do have excellent quality on our storage stuff, and if everything goes according to plan, we should be able to go until Labor Day.” Many thanks to Danny for sending his Vidalia photos this week.
Texas 1015 Sweet Onions in Mission reported in on June 30 and told us, “As is typical towards the end of June, the combination of constant heat, high humidity and chances of rain mean the end of the South Texas onion season.” In the Winter Garden/Uvalde region, crews are finishing the season’s harvest. “The next two weeks will see the last orders ship out, spelling an end for the 2021 Texas 1015 Sweet Onion season until March 2022,” the report said.
James Johnson with Carzalia Valley Produce in Columbus told us on June 30, “It’s been cool and wet. Highs this week have hovered in the low to mid 70’s with the monsoon moisture flow being highly developed right through the New Mexico growing region as well as most of northern Chihuahua.” James added, “Harvest continues as we bounce around looking for dry fields.” And he said, “Transportation hasn’t gotten any easier, and rates are higher than anyone would’ve thought.” He also said, “Thoughts are with all our colleagues in the northwest through this heat wave!”
Five Points, CA/ Washington:
John Vlahandreas with Wada Farms in Salem, OR, reported on June 30 that he is selling onions out of Five Points/Fresno area and has begun selling overwinters out of Washington this week. “Demand has been OK,” John said. “You have to remember, even as the country opens up and restaurant restrictions are lifted, you can’t run a restaurant without labor, and if operators can’t find anyone that wants to work, they aren’t opening. So we still have reduced foodservice impacting demand.” Marketwise, John said, ““The market is OK, too, but you do have to remember that there are a lot of onions out there. There are shippers still shipping old crop out of the Northwest. You have New Mexico going, Mexico is still crossing, Texas, which was supposed to have that freeze, still has onions. Walla Wallas are shipping, and now Washington overwinters are starting up – and of course, we’re shipping California. So when you think about all the regions shipping onions and where the market sits, it’s really not that bad.” When asked about what size or color might be doing better than another, John said, “It’s about even. You know, every season you have some color that stands out, but you really haven’t had that so far. Reds haven’t really taken off, and whites have really been pretty flat. All in all, we are just movin’ along at a steady pace. Nothing really too exciting, just getting it done.”
California Central Valley:
Trish Lovell with Baker & Murakami Produce in Ontario, OR, reported on the California deal June 30, saying the company is shipping out of Huron now. When asked about demand now, Trish said, “The week started a little quiet, but we’re definitely seeing higher demand today. The panic is real!” She continued, “Supplies are very tight. We’re seeing greater demand on larger size yellows and jumbo reds.” And, she said, “Transportation and the lack thereof remains the key to filling orders. We expect available trucks to be non-existent come Friday. Trucks seemed more plentiful at the beginning of the week. Freight rates are still ridiculously high, I do not see that changing anytime soon.” On the market, Trish noted, “Prices are higher, and there’s rain in New Mexico.”
Five Points, CA:
Mike Smythe sent in his news from Telesis on June 30. “One month down……two months to go,” he reported. “Movement and pricing has picked up this week, and we are having a hard time keeping reds and whites on the floor. We are moving into fields that have a larger profile of colossal and supers. So there are fewer medium reds and whites available.” Mike said quality and yields are good. He added, “Trucks availability has been good, with fewer orders rolling over. We are looking forward to a better market in July and August should have some potential for a good market.”
Jason Pearson with Eagle Eye Produce Company in Nyssa, OR, told us on June 30 that Eagle Eye started selling overwinters out of Washington. “We are selling onions out of Central California and New Mexico, but we added overwinters out of Washington this week,” he said. “Demand has been good, and we are shipping primarily to regional markets, including Canada. The market for the overwinters is steady. We are continuing to sell onions out of Central California, moving mostly jumbo yellows and reds. Demand has been pretty good there because of some gapping.” He continued, “The market hasn’t been that great, but it’s expected to perk up some due to some gapping with heavy rains reported in Mexico and parts of New Mexico. We still have strong shipments out of New Mexico, mostly yellows and reds, with a few whites.”
Rick Greener with Greener Produce in Ketchum was working via satellite reported to us via text on June 30. “The market is steady this week. California has been hot and there has been rain in New Mexico,” he said. “The overwinter crop is ready and getting more plentiful, and the Walla Walla sweets are looking really nice this season. We are getting better demand this week on all sizes, so let’s go for it!” On freight, Rick said, “Get in line, and you’re going to pay for it!” He concluded with “Have a great 4th and enjoy every day!”
Colorado Western Slope:
Don Ed Holmes with The Onion House in Weslaco, TX, told us on June 30 the growing season continues to be good for his Olathe grower. “All good,” Don Ed said, adding, “We missed the heat!” The season traditionally kicks off in late August.
Jason Pearson with Eagle Eye Produce Company in Nyssa, OR, told us on June 30 that despite the extreme heat, the onion stands look good. “We have had some extremely high temps, and it can be a concern if it goes for any length of time, but the growers have water on them, and the stands look good, so we’ll just have to wait and see what happens.”
Our thanks to Tiffany Cruickshank with Snake River Produce in Nyssa, OR, for great photos of the Treasure Valley crop this week.