Featured image: Washington crop progress, courtesy of Jason Pearson with Eagle Eye Produce Company
Imperial Valley, CA/Central Valley, CA
Mike Smythe reported in for West Valley Packing told us on May 31 that demand exceeds supply. “We are packing very few mediums of any color,” he said. “We will start intermediate onions for all colors next week, and we will continue to pack in Imperial Valley through mid-June,” and he noted, “We continue to have lower than normal temperatures.” He continued, “Quality is very good, and with the cooler weather, we are not pressed to wrap up this season.” Mike also provided a report for Telesis Onion. “Cooler weather continues to delay harvest, Mike said. “Telesis Onion start date could be as late as June 12th.” He continued, “We will update Onion Business next week with more information.”
Imperial Valley, CA/New Mexico/Central Valley, CA:
Jason Pearson with Eagle Eye Produce reported in from his sales office in Nyssa, OR, on May 31. “Demand is very good this week,” he said. “We are shipping all colors and sizes out of the Imperial Valley, and we will be shipping all colors and sizes out of New Mexico starting tomorrow. We started harvesting New Mexico last week, and we are testing out the equipment today, so we are going full steam tomorrow.” He added, “Central Valley will ramp up on June 11.” Jason said demand has been high for larger onions. “We have had good demand for jumbo yellows and colossals. Mediums have been tight this week. The market looks to be trending upward on the New Mexico stuff and holding steady on California right now. It’s all good. The truck situation is good too. It’s been super easy to get trucks and we’re in a good spot freight-wise.”
Imperial Valley, CA/Bakersfield, CA/New Mexico:
Matt Murphy with L&M Cos. in Raleigh, NC, told us on May 31 that his company has been busy with its Calipatria operation this week. “We are wrapping up with our whites,” he said. “We have another seven to eight days with reds and yellows out of the shed there. We have been very blessed to have excellent quality this season. With the cooler weather all season long, we had good yields and nice sizing. Though we didn’t have a ton of supers, we had plenty of volume on colossals and jumbos. The pricing was good too.” Matt continued, “Now we’ll move up to Bakersfield and get going there between the June 14 and the 17. It will take moving equipment and our full operation. The crop in Bakersfield looks pretty much ready to roll.” He added, “On June 2 we’ll get going in a light way with our Deming, NM, program with Billy the Kid. The crop looks good there – nice sizing, and good stands. By June 5, we’ll be wide open and going full steam.” When asked about the market, Matt said, “It’s been steadily increasing for the last several weeks with the lack of availability. With new areas coming on, it looks like it’s going to settle out and come off a little, and people are waiting to see what happens. Honestly, it will probably even out some, but we don’t think it will come down much.” Matt also commented on transportation. “You know, I haven’t seen freight running this smooth in probably a decade. We’ve been using about 90 percent reefers, and we haven’t had late trucks. And they have been readily available. It’s been really great.”
Vidalia, GA/Mexico/Imperial Valley, CA/Central California, CA/Walla Walla, WA:
Dan Borer with Keystone Fruit Marketing reported in from his Walla Walla, WA, sales office on May 31. “Demand is good this week,” he said. “We are shipping some onions out of Georgia. The growers there are done with fresh and pulling out of their short-term storages and have yet to really get into their long-term stuff yet.” Dan continued, “We have some flat sweets trickling in from Mexico and a little coming out of Imperial Valley, and we’ll be moving up to the Central Valley. And New Mexico will be starting off soon as well. Then we are waiting for our Walla Walla crop to get going around the middle of June. All looks very good there.” He said, “The bottom line here is there just aren’t that many onions out there right now, and supplies are tight. That’s been reflected in the market, and pricing is good. We’re still in transition mode now, and as we get into summer and we see the areas coming on, we don’t see the market changing much, at least for the next 60 days.” Many thanks to Dan for sending OnionBusiness recent photos Walla Walla crop progress. Click image to enlarge.
Cliff Riner with G&R Farms in Glennville gave us this comprehensive report on May 31. “The progress of the Vidalia Crop has changed rapidly. Most packing houses have begun bringing out of storage recently, and movement has been steady. Sizing didn’t seem to be an issue as we once thought this season might turn out; however, the volume overall will be more limited than we like.” Cliff went on to say, “The Christmas freeze brought stand loss that was a real impact to the overall volume. The length of the Vidalia program will depend on packouts from the coolers. We feel fortunate to have put up some really good onions, and hopefully that translates into a successful summer with Vidalia’s. This has been a very successful, but very stressful season for us and most growers in our region.”
New Mexico/Chihuahua, MX:
James Johnson with Carzalia Valley Produce in Columbus reported in from the last leg of an Asian trip, telling us on May 31 he’s shipping all sizes and colors from New Mexico now. “Crop quality is excellent,” he said. “Some of the first lots seem to be smaller with the stuff in a week looking like size is going to be good.” Carzalia Valley started out of Chihuahua earlier in May for this summer onion deal.
Texas Winter Garden:
David DeBerry with Southwest Onion Growers in McAllen told us on May 31 grower Nowell Borders Farms’ season in the Eagle Pass/Coahuila regions is moving along well with no changes from last week. The mostly jumbo deal is on all colors, although there’s “an occasional block of yellows that churns out a few loads of colossals and supers.” Harvest has peaked and should continue through mid-June. And David said transportation is steady both in availability and price.
Brad Sumner with Pacific Coast Trading in Portland told us on May 31, “Demand is definitely picking up as suppliers become fewer after the Northwest ended. I am having a few extra orders come across my desk. I love it!” He went on to say, “Medium yellow OG are a little tough to come by, so demand is a little better there.” And Brad commented, “The market for us is pretty steady – contract business, bid business keep us steady. There are little spikes on pricing for spot buys.” When asked about availability, he said, “I felt like it would be really short this week, but so far, I have been able to cover my orders.” Quality, Brad said, “is shed to shed, region to region. The Mexican organic crop this year has been good. Brawley has been an order-to-order situation as the growers move through different fields and varieties.” On the transportation front, he said, “It’s tougher to get trucks California to the Northwest. That market has steadily cost more freight. However, the LTL rate has stayed the same as it has always been high.” And Brad concluded, “The market will remain short, and movement should stay good through the Central California/New Mexico crop on organics, in my opinion. We will be chasing the new shortage crops in the Northwest.”
Jason Pearson with Eagle Eye Produce reported in from his sales office in Nyssa, OR, this week. “Our Northwest crops are looking great so far,” he said. “We were off to a bit of a slow start with the weather, but we have had some excellent growing weather lately, and we’re just about all caught up and where we should be for this point in the growing season.” Many thanks to Jason Pearson for sending OnionBusiness recent photos of Eagle Eye’s Washington growers crop progress. Click image to enlarge.