This week’s feature image: Minkus Family Farms’ New York crop, courtesy of Rick Minkus
Rick Minkus with Minkus Family Farms in New Hampton told us on June 24 that he is still living’ the dream. “Yep. I am living the dream, but you have to remember some dreams aren’t good,” Rick laughed. “Kidding aside, demand has been pretty steady, but we have had some issues with the demand in New York. Things seem to be settling down, but we had the 8 p.m. curfew and then the protests and riots. Even though food is essential, store owners just boarded everything up because they didn’t want to risk it. The Hunts Point Market’s hours were impacted as well.” He continued, “We will be in Stage 3 of the reopening, and we are going to dine-in foodservice at 25 percent capacity, so we’ll see how that goes.” Rick said his company is moving onions out of California and New Mexico. “Quality has been hit and miss,” he said. “We’ve had some good deliveries, and some deliveries have been not so good, but the overall quality has been decent.” On the market, Rick says it’s been steady. “The market has been steady, but it’s the transportation that’s been bad. The rates have gone up, and when you have to add a dollar to cover the freight, you get complaints. Being in New York, it’s an added problem. We are 60 miles outside of the city, and when you tell trucks where they are going, they aren’t really thrilled aboutit,” he said.
California San Joaquin Valley:
Steve Baker with Baker & Murakami Produce in Ontario, OR, told us the San Joaquin Valley onion program is moving along well. “Demand has been fairly good this week,” Steve said on June 24, adding that demand has been “greater for medium sized onions than the larger sizes.” He said, “The market has been very steady on all sizes except on mediums. Medium sized onions the market is higher than last week.” Regarding availability, Steve said, “We have a gap in production this week for Wednesday and Thursday. We will start up Friday on our intermediates on yellows and start reds on Saturday.” And, he said, “Our size profile should have more mediums than what we have had with our winter over varieties.” When asked about transportation, Steve commented, “Most of the time transportation has been adequate. There are certain areas at times that trucks can be tight.”
Chris Woo with Owyhee Produce in Nyssa, OR, and Parma, ID, told us on June 24, “It seems demand is very good out of New Mexico and California, and pricing has crept up some to make it better for grower returns as well as customer profitability.” He added, “Quality has been good as well. We seem to be getting orders for Fourth of July demand as well as continued pull for USDA food box program.” And, Chris said, “The trend on market feels and acts better than the past two weeks.” Chris provided us with a recent selfie taken at the Bowles Family Farms in Los Baños, CA.
Dan Borer with Keystone Fruit Marketing in Walla Walla, W, told us on June 24 that Keystone’s onion marketing program includes onions out of California and New Mexico. “Well, there isn’t a ton I have to report because all is going well right now,” he said. “It seems like everyone has a long report when there is something to complain about, right? Everyone knows that this time of year we have the lightest production. We are currently experiencing good demand and a strong market, and demand has been steadily on the rise.” He continued, “I wouldn’t say we are back to where we were pre-pandemic, but things do seem to get back some sort of normal. Even business for processors seems to be picking back up.” When asked about a forecast for the Northwest, Dan said, “It’s hard to say. It’s sort of a day-by-day thing. Some states are repealing some of their ‘opening’ phases to some degree. Even Idaho has closed up some forms of business, and Washington has implemented a mandatory face-mask law that will be in effect this Friday.” But, Dan concluded, “Still, with the business picking up as it has been lately, I can’t help but think we are looking good moving forward.”
Jason Pearson with Eagle Eye Produce in Nyssa, OR, reported on Eagle Eye’s New Mexico deal after his visit to that state last week. “The crop looks great, and we started packing all colors right out of the gate,” he said. “I have to say that demand has been stellar, and the market seems to be moving upward – and that is on all colors and sizes.” He added, “The mediums are tight with the USDA purchasing program in effect, but overall we are in good shape to supply our consumers.” On the other hand, Jason added that the downside of onion movement is transportation. “I think I can sum it up in three words,” he said. “It’s VERY ugly.” Thanks to Jason for providing us with recent photos of the New Mexico crop.
Rick Minkus with Minkus Family farms in New Hampton reported that the crop is in good shape. “We’ve been a little dry and had to start irrigating, but last night we got an inch of rain so that helped,” he said. “The crop looks really good, though. The stands are nice, and we are on track for a normal harvest.” Thanks to Rick for providing us with recent photos of his crop.
Herb Haun with Haun Packing in Weiser, ID, said on June 24, “We’ll be bringing in onions in five weeks, six at the most.” Herb went on to say the onions “look very healthy, and we’ve had really good weather.” He added, “Overall everything right now looks very, very good.”
California San Joaquin Valley:
“Rolling hills” took on added meaning on Wednesday, June 24, as Robert Bell with Western Onion in Camarillo, CA, reported to us on the fields from Arvin southeast of Bakersfield. During his messaging, Robert included a screenshot of his early earthquake warning system that was giving him a heads-up. The quake was 2.1 in Maricopa, he said. Other regions reported a much stronger quake registering 5.8. Robert said there was “no interruption in harvest He said harvest could include another field west of Bakersfield, but if not, Arvin will continue two weeks. Then it’s waiting for Cuyama, he said. And he said the onions coming in are “fantastic,” noting they are loading 1.5 million pounds daily until finished. Thanks to Robert for providing us with recent photos of the Arvin crop.