Mackenzie Mills at River Point Farms in Hermiston told us on March 29 that demand this week has been steady, with good movement. She added that demand has been good for all sizes and colors. Prices remain low, with no significant change, and she said, Availability and quality are good across the board. River Point will ship its storage crop into May, she added.
Chris Woo with Murakami Produce Co. in Ontario, OR, told us March 29 that demand is moderate. I would describe demand as moderate at best and will be for the rest of the week, Chris said. Shipments are heavy. Texas is cranking up, and Mexico is still crossing, all of which is affecting movement out of the Northwest. He noted, There is decent demand for jumbos, colossals and super yellows, and reds are a popular item for buyers, but prices are still below cost of production.
Steve Baker with Baker Packing in Ontario, OR, told us demand this week has slowed down from the previous two weeks. And in a turn from recent reports, Steve said, Demand on super colossals, colossals and jumbo yellows has been better than medium yellows. He continued, The market out of Idaho/Oregon has been fairly steady this week. The market out of Mexico dropped significantly from last week on yellows. When asked why the change, Steve said, Apparently the shippers out of Mexico feel they need to push to get more market share. He said Baker Packing has very good availability on yellows and good availability jumbo reds. Supplies are tighter on medium reds, and he said, We are done with whites for the season.
Dwayne Fisher with Champion Produce Sales in Parma, ID, told us demand for the week has been OK. Our customers have stayed with us, so demand has been fairly steady, Dwayne said. He added that Champion will be finished packing this week and will ship through April 10.
Don Ed Holmes with The Onion House in Weslaco said onions out of the Rio Grande Valley are looking really nice, and he added, Movement is starting to pick up. Quality is very good, and we hand-top and hand-clip the roots, which makes [production] a bit more expensive for us. But I think the price is coming back up to where its getting close to working. It feels like its bottomed out, and it looks better here today. The Onion House also ships onions out of Mexico, and Don Ed said March 30 would be the last loads for this season.
Rick Minkus with Minkus Farms in New Hampton, NY, told us March 29 that demand is starting to increase. We are starting to get Passover business, and it looks like things are picking up a little bit, Rick said. We just finished with our own onions, and now we are bringing in onions from Upstate New York and the Northwest. And we starting to get some onions out of Texas, too. Rick said the market is weak this week. I guess the only way to put it is the market is just blah. He also told us the market seems to be better for whites because the Northwest is staring to run out and supplies are getting tighter.
Rick Minkus with Minkus Farms in New Hampton, NY, reported his operation will start planting next week. During the recent storms, we had two feet of snow, but that’s all gone, Rick said on March 29. We have had some rain recently, but we have been so dry for the last two years that the moisture has been good for us. Rick said that most years Minkus starts planting between March 25 and 30, and theyve also had years when theyve started around April 10. We on track for a normal start to the season, he said.
Bob Sakata at Sakata Farms in Brighton told OnionBusiness.com that his operation, which is now overseen by his son, R.T. Sakata, got all the onions planted this month. Everything is in the ground, but its been dry, dry, dry, Bob said. Rob is starting to irrigate now. The ditches are running. Sakata Farms grows primarily yellows, with lesser volumes of reds and whites. Harvest is planned for the week after Labor Day, and shipments traditionally run through March.
Colorado Western Slope:
Don Ed Holmes with The Onion House in Weslaco, TX, said John Harold with Tuxedo Farms in Olathe, CO, is getting after it with onion planting. Hes right on schedule, and intermediate onions will be harvested in late August. The winter onions will come off in September, he said.
Steve Smith with National Onion in Las Cruces said the New Mexico crop is great, and the weather has been good. Steve said, Our stuff is a bit later, grown in the Deming area west of Las Cruces. Harvest of the fields will begin June 10, and he said the area in general will be shipping in late May and going through the end of July. Primarily yellows are being grown, and sizing will mostly hit jumbos with a few colossals, Steve said. For National Onion, foodservice is our general push, and he said the company handles its own sales.
Steve Smith with National Onion was at the operations offices in Cedar Hills, UT, on March 28, and he said the planting for that region has been a bit dicey with rain for the last few weeks. However, he said growers are not behind schedule if they get in all in by April. The region grows reds, whites and yellows, heaviest to yellows. We bring reds and whites in from sheds in the Northwest, Steve said of bigger volumes for the color varieties.
From Delbert Gehrke, VP of farming operations at River Point Farms in Hermiston, OR, we hear that River Point is a little over 50 percent planted after having starting on March. 13. We were about a week later than last year due to weather, Delbert said. He added that the program is about the same as last year.
California San Joaquin Valley:
Steve Baker with Baker Packing in Ontario, OR, said, Our Grower at Terra Linda tells me his crop is looking good. He was able to get his onions planted in their normal planting schedule.
Chris Woo with Murakami Produce in Ontario, OR, said growers have been able to plant in between the recent intermittent bouts of rain. The great news is the snow has melted, and the reservoirs are full. We should have ample water supplies for at least the next two years, which is all good, Chris said.
Steve Baker with Baker Packing in Ontario, OR, said, The rain has stopped most growers in the area from planting, but there are exceptions in some areas not having as much rain.
Dwayne Fisher with Champion Produce Sales in Parma, ID, said on March 29 the operation has planted 10 percent of its crop. Its been hit and miss for us, Dwayne said. We would much prefer to be closer to the finish than closer to the start, but we are getting everything in that we can. Dwayne said late planting could affect yields, but only time will tell. Below is a repost of a Champion Produce Instagram drone video posted by Dallas Jensen.