Featured image: Grapevine, CA red onions, photo courtesy of Robert Bell with Western Onion Sales, LLC
California, New Mexico, and Washington
Jason Pearson with Eagle Eye Produce in Nyssa, OR, reported to us on July 8. “We are selling onions out of California and New Mexico, and demand has been very good,” he said. “Even though mediums are virtually extinct, there has been good demand for all sizes and colors across the board. We have also been shipping overwinters out of Washington and that program has been great. We are almost sold out there.” When asked about foodservice demand, Jason said, “The east coast has been consistently opening up so the foodservice demand in the east has definitely picked up.” On quality, Jason said, “While California and New Mexico have had some pretty significant heat, overall the quality remains good.”
Jared Gutierrez with Columbia Basin Onion in Hermiston, OR, told us on July 8, “Things here at CBO are good, and demand is good. The medium market is in strong demand and should continue. Hopefully the market can remain that way!” He added, “Right now we have finished up on our winter-over yellows and are currently working on finishing up our winter-over reds. We will be getting into our transplants early next week followed by our early direct-seed.” He said of the onions in the ground, “The crop seems to be progressing and we’ve had some decent weather as of late to help us along.” And, Jared said, “We hope everyone is safe and sound!”
Chris Woo with Owyhee Produce in Nyssa, OR, and Parma, ID, said on July 8 that national onion demand “is steady in all production areas.” Owyhee is working its California Central Valley deal now. Chris said, “Pricing returns I would describe as good, both for the receivers that are buying them as well as the grower shipper whose selling them.” And, importantly, “Foodservice demand is fairly decent, and we’re hoping it will get better. For the moment that’s the billion-dollar question.” Chris added, “Still one bright spot is the USDA food box program. Business and pull are out there. And retail usage is plugging along as well.”
California San Joaquin Valley:
Steve Baker with Baker & Murakami Produce in Ontario, OR, weighed in July 8 on his operation’s San Joaquin Valley deal. Steve said demand this week “is fair this week,” adding, “It isn’t as brisk as it was the last 10 days for the Fourth of July pull.” He noted that demand continues to be stronger for smaller yellows than it is for larger sizes, and he said, “There is also good demand on reds.” The market has been steady, he said, and availability is “good, especially on jumbo yellows and colossals.” Medium yellows, he said, “are still a tight item.” And Steve added, “We are starting on reds again today. The reds will be heavier to the mediums than jumbos, and quality has been excellent on both colors.”
California Five Points:
Mike Smythe with Telesis Onion in Five Points told us on July 8 that Telesis is halfway thru their season. “We are enjoying good weather, good yields, and good markets,” Mike said. “We are packing at maximum capacity. We hope to wrap up our packing a week early this season; around August 15th. We hear the Pacific NW may start early this season so we would like to be out of their way.” Mike said that the Telesis organic program will start the week of July 20th.
California Central Valley:
Robert Bell with Western Onion in Camarillo provided us with a great update out of the Central Valley this week, along with some great still photos and videos. Robert said on July 8, “We finished our organic onion harvest here, and we will resume in Cuyama in late August for our storage onions.” He added that in Bakersfield conventional the harvest has been continuing “unabated,” and many onions intended for foodservice are being packed for fresh. Robert said, “We are selecting the fields that are of smaller size for the fresh market and reserving the larger size for processing.” View the latest Grapevine, CA harvest video and photos provided by Robert below. And go to this week’s Bakersfield story this week to view the Bakersfield packing video and photos.
Brenden Kent with Sunset Produce Co in Prosser, WA, told us on July 8 that Sunset’s direct-seed onions are progressing well. “We’ve had nice weather this season,” he said. “The heat pattern for the area has been normal, and the crop looks very good. It does appear that we may have a lower stand count, but everything is in good shape for a July 25 start date.” Brenden said that he would keep OnionBusiness posted as Sunset gets closer to start up.
Idaho-E. Oregon, and Washington:
Jason Pearson with Eagle Eye Produce in Nyssa, Oregon told us on July 8 that Eagle Eye is very excited about the new crop coming on in the Northwest. “Both crops in Washington and Idaho-E. Oregon look absolutely great,” he said. “We have had really good growing weather, and we anticipate getting hopping with the new stuff at the end of this month.”
Herb Haun with Haun Packing in Weiser, ID, said on July 8 the Treasure Valley crop “is progressing well and is really healthy.” He added, “Cool weather recently might have backed maturing off a little bit, and we could be looking at Aug. 10 instead of Aug. 3 for a start date.” But he said a healthy crop is a positive indication of good quality, and the Valley is optimistic about the coming season.
Chris Woo with Owyhee Produce in Nyssa, OR, and Parma, ID, said on July 8, “This year’s Idaho/Oregon onion crop is the best I’ve ever seen. There’s plenty of available water to use with our new and improved drip systems, and weather’s been warm and dry, causing them to start bulbing as scheduled underneath their lush canopy of onion tops.” And, he said, “We’ll be harvesting some early spring-seeded varieties end of next week for the following week’s run. It’s that time of the year.”