Featured image: Washington onion crop progress, photo courtesy of Jason Pearson with Eagle Eye Produce
Mike Smythe reported in for Telesis on July 12, saying, demand exceeds supply on medium onions for all colors. “Current sizing is mostly jumbos and larger, and quality is very good with good temperature,” Mike said. “We have a heat wave coming so we are switching over to reefers only starting Friday and will continue until the heat breaks.”
Jason Pearson with Eagle Eye Produce in Nyssa, OR, told us on July 12 that his company is shipping onions out of California and New Mexico this week. “Demand has been good,” Jason said. “We have onions coming out of New Mexico and California, and the quality has been very good. We are shipping all colors and sizes. We have good availability across the board with plenty of colossal and supers, but medium reds have heavy interest, and they are super tight right now. We are happy that market is holding and remains steady. We anticipate shipping out of both areas until mid-August when we make the transition to the Northwest.” When asked about transportation, Jason said, “We don’t have any issues with transportation; if you need a truck, you can definitely find one.”
Rick Greener with Greener Produce in Ketchum, ID, told us on July 12 that his team is moving onions out of California, New Mexico and Mexican onions crossing through Texas. “Demand is excellent this week for small stuff,” he said. “It’s steady for jumbos and larger, and medium reds are hard to find. Quality has been very good, and I should mention that we have Washington overwinters available. And we are also moving pearls, so come and get ‘em.” Rick continued with a market update. “I am not sure why the market isn’t higher, but it has remained steady, with some spot buys out there.” Rick also commented on transportation. “Reefer rates are up, and flatbeds are in line,” he said. “You can get trucks, so no issue there.”
Walla Walla, WA:
Michael Locati with Locati Farms and Pacific Agra Farms told us on July 12 his Walla Walla Sweet season is going well. “Things are going great.” He said, “The first day of transplants was a few days early so there was no gap. We were very fortunate.” Michael added, “The weather could turn down about 10 degrees, but that’s summer in Walla Walla!” And he said,
“We shouldn’t have a gap between Walla Wallas and Basin onions. But Walla Wallas should go through the first or second week of August.” Our thanks to Michael for the great shot of bagged Walla Walla Sweets!
Bronx, New York:
Lou Getzelman with Canyon Sales Co. on the Hunts Point Market reported in on July 12, saying, “Yellow demand this week is relatively unchanged from last week, which wasn’t very strong coming off the Fourth of July holiday. That’s typical for this time of year. The yellow prices seem to be holding up, though, even as more supply comes online, but there just isn’t a lot of action. If stuff comes in and it’s not US #1, it’s just not moving, and in this heat, in a terminal market it’s very challenging to sell.” Lou continued, “The red market, however, has been moving upward. If you’re looking to secure a load of red onions, you really need to have your order in days in advance at most sheds. There are also plenty of sheds out there that do not have load volume. Jumbo reds are tight, but perhaps the tightest item that we’ve seen in the market has been medium reds, and it has really affected our retail package business. Red packages have really jumped the past two weeks. However, prices seem to be at the point now enough now where it will slow down the buying frenzy.” And he went on to say, “In both the red and the yellow market, it really boils down to quality over price. If you’re getting quoted at a super low price out there, it’s probably for a reason and buyer beware – $20 delivered is not always better than $21, and you need to watch what you’re buying. Quality should and does get a premium.” Lou said, “We’re seeing some onions travel across the country and not make good delivery because of the intense heat that they’ve been having out West. That puts a strain on the market, because onion buyers see a wholesale with a cheap price and expect everyone else to want to participate at that level, not considering that they are not comparing the same quality.” Looking at transportation, he said it “has been relatively easy, but one thing I will say is that you need to be on top of your flat-bed trucks when it is hot like this.” Lou concluded, “There’s no need to have a load on a truck for an extra day. Have your truck brokers update you daily and immediately when there are any issues with a breakdown. Get your onions in and to your stores as quickly as possible.”
Brad Sumner with Pacific Coast Trading in Portland told us on July 12 that demand has been “really good this week,” adding, “Smaller and medium sizes are more in demand because there are fewer of them. Reds seem tight.” Brad added, “The market is good and steady. Reds might be a little more active outside of contracts and commitments.” Looking at availability, he said, “Our fields in Baja gapped a little but should back on track end of weak.” As far as quality, Brad said, “Outside of a lot greening in our whites, quality has been excellent.” And looking at transportation, he commented, “Fortunately I have been able to keep my rate LA to Portland and Kent reasonable for now, hoping it even gets better as more products become available to ship out of OR/WA.”
Doug Bulgrin with Gumz Farms in Endeavor reported in on June 12. “We are finished for the seasons and focusing on our crop now,” he said. “The season for us went really well. We were able to extend it, and given the tightness on medium reds, it would have been nice to stay in a little longer, but we are very happy with how the season turned out.” Doug continued with his update on the Gumz crop. “The crop is coming along, but it’s been extremely dry here, and we are definitely hoping for some rain to help the growing.”
Colorado Western Slope:
David DeBerry with Southwest Onion Growers in McAllen, TX, said on July 12 that “all systems are go in Colorado.” He added, “Everything is normal for an expected Labor Day start.” David works with two growers, Brent Hines Farms and Ahlberg Farms, and offers all sizes and colors.
Colorado Western Slope/Corinne, Utah:
Don Ed Holmes with The Onion House in Weslaco, TX, told us on July 12 that his growers on Colorado’s Western Slope and in Corinne, UT, are reporting good progress with the 2023 crop. Colorado traditionally kicks off around Labor Day and runs through the end of the year, and Utah harvests and stores early in the fall, starting its shipping season in October. All colors and sizes will be available.
Jason Pearson with Eagle Eye Produce in Nyssa, OR, told us on July 12 that the crops for Eagle Eye’s growers in both Eastern Oregon and Washington are looking good. “Our Northwest crops are coming along nicely, and we are seeing some good sizing developing as well,” he said. “It looks like we’ll be starting up with both areas around the first or second week of August, which will make for a smooth transition from our summer onion sales.” Many thanks to Jason for this week’s featured image and more photos of Idaho-E. Oregon crop progress and Washington crop progress. Click the image to enlarge and scroll.
Idaho-E. Oregon Onions
Chris Woo provided us with an update this week, saying, “On my way to Timberstone I observed another fine crop of Idaho-Oregon onions finally coming on.” He added, “The weather has been warm and dry with very little humidity. Water is more than adequate, and growers are doing a wonderful job of managing and taking care of the crop. Onion plants are bulbing nicely and have nice green foliage and canopy to provide plenty of shade during the growing process.” And Chris said, “Onion harvest is less than a month away so be ready.” Our thanks to Chris for his great photos, too. Click the image to enlarge and scroll.