Featured image: California yellow onion harvest, courtesy of Jason Pearson with Eagle Eye Produce
Mike Smythe with West Valley Packing told us on May 10, the weather has been cooler this week. “We are looking forward to the 100-degree weather coming up,” he said, “We have all colors for conventional and organic onions. Sizing is running jumbo and larger; we are tight on mediums. Business exceeds demand, and the phones are very active.” He continued, “We are sold out for the week; we are working on building inventory for Monday. Quality is very good. We installed drywall this season, and onions are shipping with a good skin set.”
John Vlahandreas with Wada Farms in Salem, OR, told us on May 10 that he is shipping out of the Imperial Valley this week as Washington is finishing up. “Washington is basically shipping to their local and loyal customers now,” he said, “So the Imperial Valley is where we are sourcing our onions. This week California is considered in full swing, and demand is good. Buyers are looking for jumbo yellows too.” He continued, “As far as the market goes, even with Vidalia shipping and Mexico and Texas still shipping, for the next three or four weeks, California will be the place to go for onions – and the market is starting to reflect that.” John said, “We are starting to see the market push up, and if things go the way they should, we should see the market for California onions continue to increase because California is needed this season. The good news for California is the quality is great. With the wet weather, some were expecting seeders, which didn’t happen this year. Plus, a few Imperial Valley growers didn’t plant this year, so growers in the Imperial Valley may be in a good position for a decent season and they need it.” When asked about transportation, John said everything is fine. “Trucks are easy to get, and as always I have a ton of brokers calling, so availability is no problem.”
Chris Woo with Owyhee Produce in Nyssa, OR, and Parma, ID, told us on May 10 that market and demand have “been decent from all shipping areas, including California, Mexico, Washington, Texas and Vidalia.” He added that his company is now working its asparagus deal and new crop onions. “Here at Owyhee Produce we’re harvesting asparagus just in time for Mommas’ Weekend, and we started new fresh crop onions from northern Mexico. We will also be shipping beginning of next week from Arizona.”
Paul Reeping with Riverfront Produce in Payette, ID, provided his final report for the season on May 10. “We are completely sold out of yellows and will be in our last week of shipping reds,” he said. “We have all sizes in reds, and we are pulling from cold storage, so I am pleased to say that they have excellent quality and have been making great short and long deliveries.” Paul continued, “Last time I reported, we were still planting, but we now have all of our potatoes and onions in the ground, and we will have the same onion program this coming season this year. I have to say that we had a great season. We serviced our existing customers and brought on new clients, too. This season it seemed like, as a whole, the Idaho-E. Oregon had a resurgence of buyers with a desire for Idaho and Eastern Oregon’s premium product that the valley has been long known for. And for us, that was nice to see, and we think that will continue to grow.” Paul offered to keep OnionBusiness supplied with watermelon updates throughout the summer. When we respectfully declined, he finished this week’s report with, “It’s been a great season, and I look forward to talking with you all in late July and early August. Have a fantastic summer!”
James Johnson with Carzalia Valley Produce in Columbus said on May 10, “Chihuahua is going and we have all colors and sizes now. Medium yellows seem pretty tight though.” He added, “New Mexico looks like a couple of the first varieties of yellow might be about 10 days out.”
Jason Pearson with Eagle Eye Produce in Nyssa, OR, told us on May 10 that Eagle Eye has one week left for its Texas program and is also selling onions out of Vidalia and California. “With the rains in Texas it just made sense to limit what we are moving out of there to one more week,” he said. “We are shipping yellows and reds out of Vidalia, and demand has been overwhelming. There is heavy demand on yellows, and overall demand is high for the East Coast freight advantage.” He added, “We are in full swing shipping all colors and sizes out of California now, but colossal and super sizes are tight. Despite USDA reporting a decrease in the market, sheds are reporting a market increase there, and we anticipate that to continue. The quality is very, very good in all regions, so we are very happy about that.” Jason noted that Eagle Eye’s New Mexico program is around the corner. “Don’t forget that we will start our New Mexico program on June 1, and the crop looks great there.” On transportation, Jason said, “No worries about the freight situation. We can definitely get trucks.” Many thanks to Jason for providing great California crop photos this week. Click images to enlarge and scroll.
Texas Winter Garden:
David DeBerry with Southwest Onion Growers in McAllen told us on May 3 that the Eagle Pass/Coahuila deal is “hoppin’” now. “So far we’re staying ahead of the weather,” David said of harvest and a front that has been moving into the region. “This system has been hanging around, and we’re going hard now with people and equipment,” he said. “We’re into yellows and reds and will start whites next week. Sizing is moderate, and quality is really good.”
Chris Woo with Owyhee Produce in Nyssa, OR, and Parma, ID, told us on May 10, “Idaho is finally done planting. Now we need some heat units to get this crop to start taking off.” Chris added that the forecast is for temps to “get warmer by this Mother’s Day weekend.”
Colorado Western Slope/Corinne, UT:
Don Ed Holmes with The Onion House in Weslaco, TX, said on May 10 his growers in Colorado and Utah are finished planting.
David DeBerry with Southwest Onion Growers in McAllen, TX, told us on May 10, “Colorado is all in and right on schedule with their three-year average.” Colorado’s Western Slope traditionally starts new season right after Labor Day.