Featured image: Goldenwest Idaho onion crop posted by ProSource Produce on Instagram (Cometa white onions)
California San Joaquin Valley:
Steve Baker with Baker & Murakami Produce in Ontario, OR, weighed in July 10 on his company’s deal in the San Joaquin Valley, saying, “Demand is very good this week. Today the item that is in the most demand is medium yellow, and overall demand is very good on all sizes.” Steve added, “The market continues to be steady for us so far this week.” About availability, Steve said, “We have good availability on yellows this week, and we also have adequate supplies on red onions. We are not packing any whites.” And, he said, “Quality has been nice on our intermediate varieties.” Transportation has been good, he noted, “Transportation has not been a problem so far all summer.” The deal will run up to the start of Idaho-E. Oregon, and Steve said, “We should continue shipping out of California until mid- to late August.”
John Vlahandreas with Wada Farms reported from his Salem, OR, office on July 10, saying, “We are continuing to ship out of Five Points. Quality is good, and the price is fantastic. We probably won’t see another market like this for 10 years.” He said, “Demand today is highest for jumbo yellows, but it fluctuates between sizes.” John also commented on quality, noting, “At the early start, quality was OK. But the intermediates are looking a lot better, and we will be here until the end of the month. I think after the PMA Foodservice show in Monterey we’ll see more guys getting in.” As the season plays out, John said, “We’re hoping we get back to the normal cycle and let everybody have their layer of the onion. Right now everything is running the way it’s supposed to.”
Michael Locati with Pacific Agra Farms and Locati Farms told us July 10 the season is “going really good.” He said, “We’re about one-half shipped. Quality is great, yields are above average and the crew has been really good. We got lucky this year.” The new “Walla Walla River” logo is on boxes going out to retail, and Michael said, “People like it a lot.” He also said the rosé heirloom Walla Walla Sweet “looks beautiful, and people love them.” Michael said Locati Farms is looking to increase the rosé acreage next year.
John Harris with Paradigm Fresh in Fort Morgan had an interesting report on Monday, July 8: “I wasn’t sure what to expect this morning, but despite the downturn I felt was coming, I have to say I was wrong.” John continued, “All sizes and colors continue to remain at record prices, and supplies are still fairly tight. At this point, I have to change my tune and say that this market is going to hold on for another couple of weeks.” He also said, “The winter over crop is pretty much finished up in Washington, leaving New Mexico to cover most of the domestic volume at this time.” In Fort Morgan, he said, “We remain pretty much sold out as I just can’t seem to catch up. I expect that to change in the next 10 days. My sales skills are outpacing my buying abilities, which is a little unusual.”
Jason Vee with Vee’s Marketing in Superior, WI, weighed in on July 10. “I’m still pulling most heavily out of New Mexico,” he said. “Quality has not been an issue all season. And availability has lightened up a little. It’s still tight, but I’m not having to push orders off like we have for the last few weeks. I see some Stockton, CA, shippers coming into the mix this week as well, so that landscape is changing.” Jason continued, “We also just blew through some of the first winter-over onions in Washington and Oregon. It’s looking mostly like a gap on those winter-over yellows next week, and then transplants should be ready by July 22, and first direct-seed onions available July 29. A gap next week up north is bad for me. I need more onions than I’m getting out of Washington right now. A gap next week will make my life much more difficult.” And, he said, “Speaking of making my life difficult, there are rumblings of our founder and CEO Scott Vee’s return. I mean that affectionately. I love my dad. But it’s difficult to still work together. I have as much business as one guy can handle right now, and my volume is about get to the unmanageable stage when more of my Canadian customer/shippers gap on their own crop. So, I have dusted off a workstation for Scott to come offset my workload by handling the larger accounts for the next two or three weeks. He could be here on Monday. Feel free to call in and say hello or bust his balls a little. He can take it. However, he may genuinely be upset when he realizes we no longer have a fax machine.”
Western Colorado/Corinne, UT:
Don Ed Holmes with The Onion House in Weslaco, TX, told us July 10 Colorado grower John Harold has reported summertime weather, and the crop “is looking better.” Don Ed said the good weather on Colorado’s Western Slope has also blessed the Corinne, UT, area. “They’ve both had temperatures in the 90s,” he said. He added that the crop could be slightly later this year due to a cooler, wetter growing season earlier. “I don’t really see anything before Labor Day,” he said. Commenting on the current market, Don Ed said, “It’s hotter’n a pistol.”
Bob Sakata with Sakata Farms in Brighton said on July 10 the 2019 onion crop is “coming along fine.” He said, “I took a tour last Sunday, and it looks fantastic. Rob is doing an outstanding job – the stands are good, and there is good growth. We need some more summer weather, but we’ve been spared the hail.” Harvest will commence around Labor Day, with first loads going out mid-September.