Danny Ray with Ray Farms in Glennville, GA, told us demand is steady this week. “The market has gone up some, but not where it’s been in past years,” he said. “We are hoping for some increase over the next few weeks, but the deal really isn’t the same as it used to be.” Danny said that Ray Farms has good availability, noting, “We have good supplies at this point and should be able to ship at least until Labor Day. That’s pretty normal for Vidalias.” When asked about transportation, Danny said that before the Fourth, “ it was a “nightmare.” He said, “Transportation has eased up some, but I don’t think it is ever going to get back to where it used to be.”
Jason Pearson with Eagle Eye Produce in Nyssa, OR, said on July 11 that demand is high. “Reds and whites are really tight this week,” he said. “Yellows are tight too because we’ve received rain in New Mexico this week.” Jason said pricing has increased. “Because of the rains we have seen prices move up, and they are holding steady,” he noted. “We expect that pricing will remain very stable.” Jason also said quality of the California and New Mexico crops is excellent. “Quality looks very good, and we expect to continue shipping from both areas until mid-August.” He said transportation continues to be “very tight and very expensive.”
Falon Rufty with Onions 52 in Syracuse, UT, said on July 11 that New Mexico will have onions through mid-August, possibly into the third week. All colors are moving well, as are sweets. Falon noted the sweets will finish around the first of August. Sizes now are trending to mediums with some jumbos, and quality is excellent. “Demand is very strong for reds and for consumer packs of yellows,” she said. “Whites are also seeing good demand.”
California Five Points:
John Vlahandreas with Wada Farms in Idaho Falls, ID, said on July 11 that demand is good. “Demand has been good all season for Five Points,” he said, adding, “Better than it was for Imperial Valley. Of course, the market is very good for reds and whites and not bad for yellows. Movement is great for all sizes and colors across the board. We aren’t making a ton of money, but we are moving onions, and that’s a good thing.” John said quality is excellent. “This is probably the best quality I seen from Five points in years.”
Steve Baker with Baker & Murakami Produce in Ontario, OR, told us July 11 that demand “has been better this week than in the past few weeks,” noting jumbos and larger onions have been stronger. He said, “The size profile is smaller out of Calif. and New Mexico than the past few weeks.” Calling the market “steadies,” Steve also said, “We are very tight on colossals and jumbo yellows so far this week. We have fair availability on medium yellows, and we have a good supply of red onions. Quality has been very good on both yellows and reds.”
Falon Rufty with Onions 52 in Syracuse, UT, told us July 11 organics are shipping out of California and will run into early September, dovetailing with the Washington crop that’s coming on.
Michael J. Locati with Pacific Agra Farms told us July 11 that crews are about halfway through harvest, and he added, “Yields are really good. We’ve had nice weather, and quality is great. It’s getting warmer now, which is to be expected in July.” When asked about the sizing of this year’s Walla Walla Sweet crop, Michael said, “We couldn’t find a medium in our first few fields.” He and other growers said they’d not seen supers in the earliest onions before, but he quickly added, “We’re not complaining! We’re having fun.” The onions are mostly trending jumbo to colossal, and Michael said Pacific Agra Farms, which markets through Keystone, will have product into late August and possibly early September.
Jason Vee with Vee’s Marketing in Lake Nebagamon, WI, shared his viewpoint with us on July 11, writing, “Red market seems to have peaked, and I like how we got here. Red onions have been an increasing market for probably four weeks now. The increases have been gradual and sustainable. Sometimes that market increase hits too hard and fast and causes a drastic correction on the downside. I don’t think that’s the case this time. I hope we can hold this for a bit and let southwest growers make up some ground for a relatively poor yellow market.”
Jason added, “I’ve had good luck shipping winter-over yellows in the Northwest. Reds have not been great. Winter-over onions are tricky. They are susceptible to thicker necks, root rot and a variety of color deviations like staining and greening. They work well if customers know what they are getting. And they work best where there is a strong freight advantage.”
Another observation: “There are plenty of sweet onion options right now. Vidalia storage crop onions have been very sharp. Sweet Perfection carton sweets out have Hatch are a good seller. Walla Wallas are in their second week. And I’ll have Heavenly Sweets out of Prosser, WA, starting Aug. 1. I’d be doing myself a disservice if I didn’t mention that it’s getting late to submit for Fall 2018 to Spring 2019 carton sweet contracts. If you are interested in contracting carton sweets but aren’t sure what that’s about, call me.”
Falon Rufty with Onions 52 in Syracuse, UT, said the Washington crop in Prosser is “looking very good,” and she said shipments are expected to start the first week of August. Weather has been very good, and the crop is showing good quality in all colors. “We also have organics and certified sweets,” she said. All colors and organics ship from early August generally to the third week of May, and the sweets run from early August through mid-March. Falon said the famed Sunion tearless onions are again being grown by Onion 52 growers in Washington for a late fall shipping start, and this season O52 is offering certified organic Sunions as well as conventionally grown. Many thanks to Falon for providing this week’s feature image of one of their Washington onion Fields. View the full panoramic photo at the end of the updates.
Idaho-Eastern Oregon and Washington:
John Vlahandreas with Wada Farms in Idaho Falls, ID, told us that the IEO crop is doing very well. “We will start packing around July 23 of this month if all goes according to plan,” he said. “The crop has really progressed well, and we haven’t had extreme heat that would stunt growth. We will start off slow on the 23rd and should be going stronger that next week.” John said the situation is similar in Washington. “The crop looks great in Washington with similar growing conditions to Idaho-Oregon. We should get started in about three weeks there, and we should also have some decent availability of trucks in the Northwest when we get rolling.”
Steve Baker with Baker & Murakami Produce in Ontario, OR, told us July 11 the IEO crop “at this time is excellent and coming along nicely,” and he added, “I would anticipate we would be starting seven to 10 days earlier than last year.”
Jason Pearson with Eagle Eye Produce in Nyssa, OR, said the Fiesta Farms/Eagle Eye crop is looking very good. “The plants are very healthy, and the stands look nice,” he said. “We’re planning for a mid-August start date, which will be a smooth transition from California and New Mexico.”
Falon Rufty with Onions 52 in Syracuse, UT, said the Idaho-Eastern Oregon crop is looking very good. “The onions are doing great,” she said, adding the bulbs are sizing up on schedule. O52 will ship all three colors starting in early September.
Falon Rufty with Onions 52 headquartered in Syracuse said the Utah crop will be harvested starting in early September, with reds, whites and yellows shipping through April.
Bob Sakata with Sakata Farms in Brighton told us the farm’s onions are “doing fine, growing back.” Hit by fierce winds and then hail earlier in the season, some fields were replanted. Bob said they’ll be coming in a bit later than initially expected.
View this week’s panoramic version of the Onions 52 Washington onion field below.