Featured image: Bakersfield, CA reds, courtesy of Robert Bell with Western Onion Sales, Inc.
Michelle Gurda with A. Gurda Produce in Pine Island reported to us on July 17 that Gurda is currently shipping onions out of California, New Mexico and Oregon. “We have been busy,” she said. “We are so crazy busy with our greens program that I wouldn’t say the onion sales have been at that level, but it’s definitely been steady and there’s good movement. Quality has been fair, and market is steady as well.”
Danny Ray with Ray Farms in Glennville, GA said that his Vidalia operation will be shipping for another three weeks. “We have had a great season,” Danny said. “Usually, demand falls off a little after the 4th of July, but it has been a steady flow all season long. We have been really happy with the pricing too. Anytime you can make money, it’s a good season, and compared to the last couple of years, we’ve done well with this year’s crop.”
Trent Faulkner with L&M Companies in Raleigh, NC, told us on July 17 that demand and market is “crazy” right now. “Demand is fantastic,” Trent said. “We are moving all colors and all sizes at a very good pace with extremely large demand for the big sizes. The market is hot as well. It’s at $20 plus. This has been an exciting time for us.” He continued, “Our grower, Billy the Kid, has done an excellent job this season making a super high-quality onion. And while we have ample supplies, we haven’t had to keep very much product on the floor. It is really moving.” Trent added, “We should be going until the second week in August out of Deming before we transition to our Kansas program.”
John Harris with Paradigm Fresh in Fort Morgan weighed in on Wednesday, July 17, saying, “Onion prices remain at historic highs into another week. Demand seems to be just a touch lighter this week, at least around out office anyhow.” He noted, “We are still basically almost 10 days out from relief that will be coming from Washington. It will be just in time as many of the New Mexico shippers will be wrapping up around that time, hopefully allowing this market to slowly ease its way down rather than tumble and crash all at once. The 90 car pile-up is bad for all for all of us.” John said quality “remains very good out of New Mexico as these shippers are hitting their stride on spring seeded onions.” And, he said, “The weather is extremely hot in New Mexico, and we have gone to shipping pretty much all reefers this week as a precaution. Saving 50 cents or $1 isn’t worth much if the onions show up cooked.” In Fort Morgan, he said, supplies are being kept tight and Paradigm is handling only its regular and contractual obligations. “We will be ready to go with open market offerings the beginning of August.”
California and New Mexico:
Jason Pearson with Eagle Eye Produce reported from his Nyssa, OR, office this week. “We have been shipping out of New Mexico and Five Points, CA,” Jason said. “It has been super busy. We have had awesome demand for all sizes and colors, and the prices are very good as well.” He continued, “The quality out of both areas has been great, and really we haven’t had any issues all season long. It’s been a nice summer for onions.” Jason said, “We will be shipping out of California and New Mexico until mid-August, when we switch over to Idaho-E. Oregon. It will be a smooth transition with no gaps.”
Dwayne Fisher with Champion Produce Sales in Parma, ID, said on July 17, “The California onion market remains red hot and looks to get even hotter next week – just like our temperatures here in Idaho. Product has been tight, especially on yellows, and the truck drivers are learning patience to say the least. Well, I am not at the shipping desk, so maybe they aren’t?” Dwayne continued, “It has been a strong market for months now,” and I think a good indication on what is to continue as we move into August and September without any question.”
Rick Greener with Greener Produce in Ketchum, ID, said on July 17 that demand and the market have been steady this week. “Pricing is up there, and buyers are definitely complaining about it,” Rick said. “When you have prices at this level, it’s a little hard to grow any new business, but all in all, business is good.” He continued, “One bright spot is that we are getting some export business to Panama. I guess they are out of onions and potatoes. The onion shipments we’re making are coming out of New Mexico, California and Walla Walla. Come the first week in August, we have some great Washington growers that will be going – so we’re excited to get going there.” And, Rick said, “We are also pumped to get going with a new Idaho/Oregon shed that’s based in Parma. That is going to be a great relationship.” And speaking of relationships, Rick told OnionBusiness that in the short 13 months Greener Produce has been in business, they have managed to develop working relationships with over 80 companies. “We are in a good position on onion sales, and well, we’re just happy to be here,” he said.
Michelle Gurda with A. Gurda Produce in Pine Island told us theNew York crop is looking good. “We were wet early on, and now it’s a little dry, but it hasn’t affected the progress of the crop,” Michelle said. “Things are on track for a late August/early September start-up.”
Trent Faulkner with L&M Companies in Raleigh, NC, reports that the Kansas crop is looking very good. “We are excited to get going in Kansas this year,” he said. “We have about 350 acres we will be shipping once our New Mexico program is finished. It’s nice, too, because we won’t have a gap when we transition.” Trent went on to say, “Kansas is good for us because being so centrally located, and we definitely have a freight advantage. It’s been good all around because we moved from Rocky Ford, CO, to Kansas a while back, and the weather seems to be a little better there and the growers are absolutely fantastic. We have made a lot of progress with the Kansas deal, and we are looking to invest in more storage for the storage onions we are producing. All in all, it looks to be shaping up well for Kansas this year.”
Colorado Western Slope/Corinne, UT:
Don Ed Holmes with The Onion House in Weslaco, TX, said on July 17, “John Harold in Colorado reported very good weather, and I think we’ll still be right around Labor Day getting started on the Western Slope.” He said intermediates are looking good, and all the onions are sizing well. “The water situation is good as well. The mountains had excellent snowpack, and the rivers are still running full.” In Corinne, UT, growers are reporting “the best stands they’ve ever had,” Don Ed said. The weather has been warm there as well, and the onions are growing well. “They have a little longer growing season,” he said. Utah harvests and stores, with the shipping season starting up later in the fall. And, Don Ed said, “The market is good, and everyone’s happy.”
Jason Pearson with Eagle Eye Produce in Nyssa, OR, told us on July 17 that the Idaho-E. Oregon crop is progressing well. “I went driving around yesterday, and the fields I saw looked very healthy. Everything looks to be in good shape for our August startup.”
Dwayne Fisher with Champion Produce Sales in Parma, ID, said on July 17, “In Idaho Mother Nature has turned up the dial on the heater, and water, water, water is the name of the game. Our drip fields are doing extremely well, and the plants remain very healthy with just some minimal tip burn.” He continued, “Thrip counts remain very low on our farms, but we are about to go full scale grain harvest the next few weeks, so we will probably see more pressure on that side of things. Overall for us, we are very pleased with our crop, excited for a strong market out of the gate, and look forward to starting production about Aug. 19.” Dwayne added, “With our freight advantage versus California, I am anticipating that our new crop onions will fetch higher returns than what the California market is at that time. Looks to be a very positive start of our season, and in terms of our own quality and volume, we anticipate that our customers will be very happy well into April. Enjoy the sun, the strong markets and eat more onions!”