Steve Gill with Gills Onions in Oxnard told us on May 17, “We are finishing harvest today in Brawley ahead of any hot weather with excellent yield and quality.” Steve said Gills has a “large inventory to get to the week of June 5, when we start harvest in Bakersfield. Everything in Bakersfield looks good and on schedule.” About pricing, Steve said, “It seems like there are a lot of onions on the market as prices are in the $6 to $8 range.”
Cindy Elrod with Yerington, NV-based Peri and Sons said that company will finish its El Centro harvest this week, and packing will be finished around May 29. “All colors available along with organic reds and organic yellows. Yellow and Whites have had a smaller size profile than what we typically see from this area. Reds seem to have an average size profile and were the last of the colors to mature and cure. “ She said there should not be an overlap with the San Joaquin Valley crop.
Trish Lovell at Agri-Pack in Pasco told us the last loads of yellows will go out next Tuesday, May 23, and Agri-Pack is finished with reds for the season.
Stefan Matheny at River Point Farms in Hermiston told us that he was seeing “moderate demand this week on our storage reds and yellows.” Stefan added, “All items are moving at about the same level of demand. Pricing is steady, but the market as a whole continues to be down. With six domestic growing regions and Mexico pushing onions, we are still in a situation where there is an abundance of supply.” He continued, “We have great quality remaining in our storages in Oregon, we will continue to pack/process/ship these onions until new crop comes.”
Chris Woo with Murakami Produce Co. LLC in Ontario, OR, reported that demand is fairly light for Murakami this week since they are finishing their season. “The market is steady as she goes,” Chris said. “We expect to finish sometime next week. We just have dribbles to pack and dribbles to offer in yellows only.” Chris reported that there are only three or four companies still shipping besides Murakami, and they should be wrapping it up before too long. “Now I am just looking forward to new season and the solar eclipse on Aug. 21,” Chris said. He added that his new hashtag is #WoosSolarEclipse
Texas Winter Garden:
David DeBerry with Southwest Onions in Mission told us on May 17 that Winter Garden has another two weeks and that it has been a very good deal this season. “Yields are well above normal, and we haven’t had rain for 74 days, so we’ve been very fortunate,” David said. “We’ve got two weeks left, all three colors, and demand has been steady for the most part.” He said about a third of the crop was packed out of Edinburg and that “worked out good.” David gave props to grower Noell Borders, who also grows onions in the Tampico area and in the Rio Grande Valley. All three of his onion crops were excellent this year, David said. David also said labor has been a non-issue this year. “It’s been very good,” he said. “We had some concerns going into it, but it’s all been good.”
Chris Woo with Murakami Produce Co. LLC in Ontario, OR, had talked to Vidalia growers on May 17 and told us that the market had dipped slightly this week. “Demand has been moderate,” Chris said. “Our Vidalia growers haven’t had any recent weather issues, so the crop and harvest have been going well. And the quality has been good.”
Matt Murphy with Paradigm Fresh in Fort Collins/Denver, CO, provided us with his take on recent market condition as of May 16. “The market still seems to be a bit overwhelmed with supplies from multiple regions,” Matt said. “We are seeing the last of the storage crop shippers still about 10 days from finishing. Georgia onions are doing a good job supplying the east coast. Out west California remains strong with supply. West Texas seems to be having one of their best crops in recent memory. Additionally, shippers in New Mexico are beginning their season which is earlier than normal.”
California San Joaquin Valley:
Cindy Elrod with Peri and Sons of Yerington, NV, told us that the Firebaugh crop will be ready for packing late this month. “We start clipping short day varieties this weekend and should start packing around May 29,” she said. “The first fields ready will have whites and yellows,” she said. “The first field of reds will be ready to clip in a couple of weeks.” Cindy added, “Right now the report is sizing is all over — some fields have good size and some average to below-average size.”
Steve Baker with Baker Packing in Ontario, OR, said the San Joaquin Valley crop looking very nice and size and yields should be good. “The weather has been really nice lately, and we will be starting May 30 there,” Steve said.
Mike Smythe with Telesis Onion Co. in Five Points, Fresno County, told us Telesis will start the week of May 30.
Trish Lovell with Agri-Pack in Pasco said on May 17 that the Washington crop is planted, and Agri-Pack has the same acreage as it did in 2016 with no changes. “We have had a little more rain than normal,” she said, adding that the region experienced high winds on May 16. Water is not an issue this year, and she said it’s too early to guesstimate harvest dates. “Depends on summer weather,” Trish said. “It might be a week later than normal, but we don’t know at this point.”
Delbert Gehrke with River Point Farms in Hermiston said the new crop is “coming along very well,” and he noted, “The weather has been cooler than most years.”
Grant Kitamura with Murakami Produce Co. LLC in Ontario, OR, said there have been weather delays with the IEO crop. “It’s been cold and wet,” Grant said. “Our growers should be able to easily catch up with a little sunshine, but the rain has kept growers out of the fields, and they need to get in there to cultivate and fertilize. The good news is, the drought is officially over,” Grant laughed.
Colorado Western Slope:
David DeBerry with Southwest Onions in Mission, TX, said his Western Colorado deal is looking good and he’ll be in the Centennial State in “a couple of weeks.” He said, “Reports are that everything is normal now, but the last 30 days matter more than the earlier days.” The normal start date for the Western Slope is right after Labor Day.