Featured image: Ontario, Oregon onion crop progress as of May 13, courtesy of Grant Kitamura with Baker & Murakami Produce Co.
California Imperial Valley:
OnionBusiness caught up with Jason Pearson with Eagle Eye Produce as he was headed to California to check out the area’s new crop. “Yes, I am on my way to California as we speak,” Jason said. “We’ve been shipping out of the Imperial Valley for about two weeks now. Demand has been very good, and we are shipping all colors and sizes.” He added, “Whites are a little tight right now, but that should open up fairly soon. The quality has been very nice too.” Last time we talked to Jason he said that Eagle Eye would be starting out with smaller onions, and as the weeks progressed, they would be getting larger. “We are into our bigger onions, so we have good availability across all sizes,” he said. “The market is getting better. We are seeing an uptick in pricing, and that’s encouraging.” Jason added that he will be supplying us with photos upon returning to Nyssa, OR, from his trip south.
David DeBerry with Southwest Onion Growers in Mission said on May 13 the Wintergarden deal is “moving right along.” He said, “We got some scattered rain earlier in the week, but we’re in the fields on both sides of the River.” David noted the market on whites “is a little challenging right now,” and he added, “Reds and yellows are stronger.”
Danny Ray with Ray Farms, Inc. in Greenville visited with us about his shipping on May 13. “I would say that we know about as much on this onion deal and they know about the virus,” Danny said. “We have never been down this road before, and we have no way of knowing what’s going to happen from one day to the next. Right now, we have good demand, and it looks like more foodservice is opening up. So that might help the market because it seems to have eased up a bit this week.” Danny said his quality is excellent. “There have been some problems in the area, but the Lord has blessed us with a great crop this year. I do think there will be less overall availability of onions out Vidalia this season, but again no one really knows how far the onions will take us because of the impact of the virus.” Danny added some thoughts about the virus’s impact. “I have had my grandkids out on the farm with me just about every day,” he said. “I guess the virus has taught us that we should have been spending more time together – sitting on the porch and visiting with each other like they did in the old days. We are enjoying that part.” Thanks to Danny Ray for sending his Vidalia photos below.
Colorado Western Slope:
David DeBerry with Southwest Onion Growers in Mission, TX, said his Colorado growers are seeing a good crop this season. “Those onions are coming along,” David said. The expected start date is mid-August.
James Johnson with Carzalia Valley Produce in Columbus, NM, told us on May 12, “Temperatures have moderated, which is a good thing. We were knocking on the door of 100 degrees last week, which is a month early. We are back to more seasonable temps now though.” He said, “Our own New Mexico crop is just about 10 days away from some of the first yellows, with whites and reds being 10 days to two weeks behind that.” And James said the Chihuahua crop is good, with “whites and yellows are all that is crossing now – and the whites are beautiful!”
Grant Kitamura with Baker & Murakami Produce Co. in Ontario, OR, provided us with crop photos dated May 13 and reported to us that the crop is progressing very well. “We have had beautiful weather,” Grant said. “The stands look good and the fields look healthy. Of course, we have the summer ahead of us, but we expect to have early onions the first part of August.”
Walla Walla, WA:
Michael Locati with Locati Farms and Pacific Agra Farms in Walla Walla said on May 13 the crop is “looking good, and we’re just kickin’ through May right now, hoping for a mid-June start.” Michael said the fields are getting water every week, and he said fall-seeded are naturally ahead of the transplants. “Transplants are coming along,” he said. “It’s still early.” Thanks to Michael for sending photos of his Walla Walla crop progress.
Larry Bauman with L&L Ag in Othello shared his insights with us on May 13, saying, “We all thought that 2019 was the worst possible year that we could have had in the Northwest Onion business. But little did we know as we moved in the new 2020 plans and planting time that things could change so quickly in our business and family life.” He continued, “Farming in the State of Washington is always difficult, with many laws and regulations that come from the other side of the state. Since we are in an exempt business, providing food, we were able to continue with our packing and farming operations. As with most of the other facilities, we have applied many changes to the daily routine at the shed and on the farm. We have been blessed by not having any problems. The new crop is doing okay, but we have had a lot of wind from the north direction that has caused some crop damage here in the basin.” Larry added, “It has been very dry, as we are in drought for sure into the rest of the season. There are many new onion and potato storages being built this year, which is always interesting. None of us really have any insight where the year will end, but I do know that my God is still in control and I can put my trust on His promise of keeping watch over me.” Thanks to Kerrick Bauman for sending crop photos taken near Pasco, WA.
California Coachella Valley:
Robert Bell with Western Onion in Camarillo, CA, said crews are in the Coachella Valley. He said, “Our next organic field will probably start Wednesday.” Robert shared some great photos as well. Thanks to Robert for sending Coachella crop photos below.