Steve Baker with Baker & Murakami Produce in Ontario, OR, told us on July 25 that demand “so far this week has not been as strong as last week, especially on smaller sizes of yellows.” He said, “There is better demand on larger size jumbo yellows and colossal yellows. Also, there’s still good demand on red onions.” Steve said the market “is steady on the larger sizes for yellows and both jumbo and medium reds.” He added, “We are a little tight on jumbo yellows and colossal yellows the first half of the week. We have good supplies on smaller jumbo yellows and medium yellows.” And, he said, “Our size profile will be changing to larger yellows starting Thursday. We are very tight on supplies of red onions this week.” Quality, he said, “has been very good on both yellows and reds.” Steve added Baker & Murakami will ship out of California for most of the month of August.
California Five Points:
John Vlahandreas with Wada Farms in Idaho Falls, ID, told us that demand has been very good. “Demand has been consistently good all season long,” he said on July 25. “The markets for reds and whites have been doing extremely well, and the market for yellows is stable. Once the Northwest gets rolling, it will most likely take the pressure off the market. Luckily, we have had very good quality this season.”
Oregon Columbia Basin:
Jared Gutierrez with Columbia Basin Onion in Hermiston told us on July 25 that CBO started shipping early direct seeded yellows this week. “Tomorrow we will start shipping reds and will start slow with whites later next week,” he said. Jared noted the sizing and quality with the early onions has been okay, adding, “Our storage varieties are looking good. We are getting triple-digit temperatures which could potentially make the crop a bit off,” Jared noted that in addition to its conventional onions, CBO has begun a slow start with its organic program.
Idaho and Washington:
John Vlahandreas with Wada Farms in Idaho Falls, ID, said his Idaho and Washington co-packers started up this week. “We’re starting with shipments of reds and yellows this week,” he said. “We are starting out slow and have a few packing equipment kinks to get worked out, but we should be shipping out of both areas full steam next week.” John said since his Northwest program has just gotten started, it’s a bit too early to report on quality. “We will have to see, but from all the reports I am getting, it looks like the Northwest crops are in good shape.”
TJ Runyan with Mesilla Valley Produce in Las Cruces reported July 25 that demand is high this week. “Demand is really good for jumbos and larger on all colors,” he said. “Demand for reds and whites continues to be very high. The market is definitely getting stronger for jumbos, colossals and supers and remains steady for mediums and pre-packs.” TJ noted the market should continue to gain strength. “We anticipate the market to keep getting stronger at least until the Northwest really gets going. We have four weeks left. Our quality is excellent, and we are really excited.”
Jason Vee, president of Vee’s marketing in Lake Nebagamon, WI, told us on July 25, “It got difficult to buy whites suddenly today. That feels a little weird because by the end of next week I expect we will have way more whites than we need if Washington starts them.” He added, “Speaking of Washington, standby. The Northwest is entering this market, and it’s already making a difference. Medium and prepack yellow market is lightening up in New Mexico and California. I said the red market peaked in my last market update. I don’t think I was wrong about that. Reds haven’t increased since that market update, and I expect they decline slowly starting next week.” Jason went on to say, “New Mexico freight is much easier than it was weeks ago. I’m still only loading California trucks by necessity because of the cost and difficulty of that. Those orders are ‘get trucks first, buy onions second.’ I’ve reached a tipping point here where I’m spending too much time on freight and not enough time on onions. So, we’ve come up with a solution.” And, he announced, “My sister, Angie Sapik, has been working part-time at Vee’s doing AP and AR. The first order is to cross-train Angie to take on my freight responsibilities and make her full-time. Subsequently, she will train someone to take on her accounting duties.” The upshot, he said, is “…we are leaving my Lake Nebagamon home office for a commercial space in Superior, WI. I should have enough room in this new space to add a few more workstations as well.”
Robert Bell with Western Onion in Camarillo told us on July 25 he is a two-week gap between Bakersfield and higher elevations in Kern County, CA, to harvest later varieties. He said on July 25, “Headed to the Antelope Valley near Willow Springs. Good stand overall. Thirty acres of it were replanted after a February frost.” Robert said the onions are “a little all over on size, but stands are good,” and he added, “We will start in approximately two weeks and will harvest 1 million-plus pounds every day for two weeks to finish fast. Then we move directly to the Cuyama Valley, where we will harvest into October.”
Herb Haun with Haun Packing in Weiser, ID, reported on July 25 that his operation will start with yellows the first week of August. “We will start shipping yellows the week of Aug. 6 and then add reds and whites on the Aug. 13,” Herb said. “The crop looks really nice. We have had very low humidity, so the quality of this year’s crop should be excellent. Sizing is really starting to come on too. I always get a little worried about sizing, but it seems to work out the closer we get to harvest, so overall we are looking at a good average crop with nice size and great quality.”
Steve Baker with Baker & Murakami Produce in Ontario, OR, said the crop out of Idaho-Eastern Oregon is “coming along nicely and looks very good, and we should start shipping somewhere around Aug. 10-13.”
Some areas of Colorado’s Front Range were seeing heavy rain and hail, but Bob Sakata at Sakata Farms in Brighton said on July 25 that bad weather had skirted that region. “We’re fine,” Bob reported. “We’ve had some thunder recently but very little rain,” he said. The operation will start harvest in early September, he said.
Doug Bulgrin with Gumz Farms in Endeavor told us Gumz will most likely have an above-average crop. “We’ll start shipping red transplants in the next two to three weeks, and we should be in full production with yellows by Sept. 1,” Doug said on July 25. “Quality looks very good, and we are really optimistic that we will have a good season.”
Featured image: Rio Farms yellow onion, by OnionBusiness.com