Featured image: Warden, WA crop progress, photo courtesy of Matt Murphy and Derek Ennis with L&M Companies in Raleigh, NC
Matt Murphy with L&M Cos in Raleigh, NC, told us on July 19 that his team is seeing more demand this week. “We are shipping out of California and New Mexico this week,” Matt said. “It seems like demand has picked up somewhat, and maybe that has something to do with Mexico being just a little quieter. They are still shipping, of course, but you have to figure, if it’s hot here, it has to be hot where they are, and the volumes aren’t as high crossing. Plus, transportation has been easy to secure, and rates have been fairly good – and that’s helped too.” He continued, “We’ve finished harvesting in California, and we’ll finish packaging next Tuesday. We started harvesting direct-seeded onions in New Mexico today, and we’ll be done with harvest in Deming with Billy the Kid’s stuff next Friday. We should be about to wrap up there in the next two and a half weeks.” Matt said, “It’s been hot and dry, and the yields in New Mexico have been off the charts. The quality has been great with good sizing.” When asked about the market, Matt said he’s seen some pressure. “It seems like there are enough onions out there that there is some downward pressure, but nothing significant, and we don’t think it is long-lasting. Overall, we’re in a pretty good position marketwise right now.” He concluded, “We’re busy, and we’ve had a good summer season. And we are going into our Northwest program with no gaps.” Many thanks to Matt for the photo of him at one of Billy Franzoy’s New Mexico fields.
Jason Pearson with Eagle Eye Produce in Nyssa, OR, reported in on July 19. “We are moving onions out of California and New Mexico and will be through the middle of August when we start shipping our Northwest onions,” he said. “Demand is good this week. Medium reds are tight. We have good demand and availability for all other sizes and colors across the board, and quality continues to be very good.” Marketwise, Jason said it’s been steady, with a slight drop on yellows. “The market dropped some on New Mexico yellows, but we think that’s temporary. The pipeline seems to be somewhat full, and it is getting hot, so there has been some shippers wanting to get yellows sold. We anticipate and upward turn,” he said. On transportation, Jason said he expects trucks could tighten up. “With the temperatures rising, we can only use reefers. So we could see trucks tighten up and we need to be prepared for it,” Jason said.
Rick Greener with Greener Produce in Ketchum, ID, reported in from his remote high country ranch this week. “Well, I am looking to plant some fast-growing small reds here real quick,” Rick laughed. “In other words, medium reds continue to be incredibly tight this week. Retail onions are in high demand across the board. We are moving onions out of California, New Mexico and transplants out of Washington.” He added, “Mexico is all but over crossing out through Texas, so it’s not even worth mentioning, and we’ll start on direct seeded out of Washington here in about 10-12 days.” Rick said the market is steady. “Sure, there is pressure on the market, but it’s really just spot buyers so I wouldn’t call that real pressure on the market. Some shippers are looking to move some onions here and there, but the market remains steady, and that’s how we have to look at it.” He concluded, “Transportation is good. We can get trucks when we need them. Hey, and don’t forget we have Idaho pearl onions, and we’ll have new crop in six weeks, so come and get ‘em!”
Brenden Kent with Sunset Produce in Prosser told us on July 19 that harvest “is underway a little earlier than normal,” this year, adding, “The crop looks good so far with very manageable yields and normal sizing. We look forward to a great season!” Our thanks to Brenden for an awesome harvest video!
Michael Locati with Locati Farms and Pacific Agra Farms updated us on his 2023 deal this week. He recently said he doesn’t expect a gap between Walla Walla Sweets and Basin onions, noting the Walla Wallas will likely be finished the first or second week of August. Michael reported on July 19 the region has felt the summer heat, and he added, “We’re still moving through transplants.” He said his Walla Walla Sweet Rosés are steady with volume. “We’re harvesting Rosés today, and they look great,” he said. Our thanks to Michael for the great Rosé photo – they do look great!
James Johnson with Carzalia Valley Produce in Columbus told us on July 19 his season is going well. “We are well into the spring seeded crop and have good supplies of all colors,” he said. “The rains so far have been kind to us and have for the most part left us alone where we’ve been harvesting.” He added, “This heat is relentless, so we have been harvesting at night and getting stuff maybe a hair on the early side and green tops. So far quality has stayed really good.” James said he’s “looking to wrap this New Mexico deal up around the 15th to the 20th of August if all goes as planned. And we should finish up with our growers in Mexico within the next 10 days.”
Video Market and Crop Update
Shay Myers with Owyhee Produce in Parma, ID, and Nyssa, OR, provides an update on the Treasure Valley crop and an overview of the onion market going into August and September 2023. Follow Shay on LinkedIn https://www.linkedin.com/in/shayfmyers/
Matt Murphy with L&M Cos in Raleigh, NC, told us on July 19 that the company’s Warden, WA, operation will kick off its season on Aug. 31. “Jensen Farms in Warden started bringing in onions yesterday, and they look amazing,” he said. “They’ll be in storage for about a week to nine days, and then start-up will be that week of Aug. 31. It will be wide open from the jump with all three colors, and the size profile looks big right out of the gate, which is awesome.” He added, “We won’t have any gaps, and we may overlap with New Mexico a little, which puts us in a good spot.” Matt went on to say, “On our Kansas and Colorado deal, we are a bit behind due to the growing weather, but the onions look great. We’ll get started in both areas around Sept. 1.” Many thanks to Matt and Derek Ennis (Derek shown in the photos) for the recent photos of the Warden crop. Click to on image to enlarge and scroll.
Jason Pearson with Eagle Eye Produce in Nyssa, OR, reported on July 19 that his company’s Eastern Oregon and Washington new crop will start up the second week in August. “The crop is coming along nicely, and the onions are starting to get some good sizing,” he said. “We have some high heat coming up, but we are on target for the second week in August for start-up, which will be good for a smooth transition with no gaps.”
Dwayne Fisher with Champion Produce told us on July 19, “Summer has come, and shipping season is not far from returning to the Northwest. We, of course, are excited for our anticipated mid-August start date. Our crop is progressing nicely, and as far as our farms and growers, we feel our dedication and investment in plant health will be critical as we endure the next 10 days of at, or in excess of, 100 degrees that is forecast for our valley.” Dwayne continued, “We applaud our summer growers and shipping friends for the way they navigate market prices, even with amazing yields! Their positive demonstration of where market base points need to be, even with high yield numbers and no weather-related disruptions, should have us all very positive about the coming months.” He added, “Some customers have inquired on growing/shipping costs and if those have gone down. While fertilizers/chemicals may be steady, our fall expenses in this category were higher than a year ago; wages and labor have only increased; insurance, fuel, repairs, equipment replacement values, and other high-ticket items remain high; and interest on operating money and loans in general has doubled from recent trends, with two more expected increased by the end of the year.” Dwayne added, “In short, our costs are higher when you look at the complete picture. Again, we appreciate our summer friends for demonstrating and establishing where the base of the market needs to be. We look forward to shipping red, white, and blue – always and ONLY American Onions soon!”
Colorado Western Slope/Corinne, UT:
Don Ed Holmes with The Onion House in Weslaco, TX, told us on July 19 that the 2023 crop in Olathe is coming along great. “All good,” he said of conditions in the two regions. Colorado is on track to start up around Labor Day, and Corinne expects to harvest in the fall and start shipping in late October.