Featured image of Imperial Valley onion field, courtesy of Jason Pearson with Eagle Eye Produce
Imperial Valley, CA:
We caught up with Jason Pearson with Eagle Eye Produce told us on May 20 while he was on the road to the company’s Washington office. “Last week, we visited our Imperial Valley grower, and everything is going well there,” Jason said. “Demand has been good and, we are shipping all sizes and colors. With the USDA food box program, mediums are tight and hard to come by. The overall market seems to be picking up steam, but the market for whites has dropped off a little bit, which is a bummer. Still, things are going smoothly for us, and quality out of California is extremely good.” Jason sent some recent Imperial Valley Picts shown below.
Jared Gutierrez with Columbia Basin Onions in Hermiston, OR, told us on May 20, “The market has been decent, with good movement considering the pandemic. We are seeing the market price move upward a bit as we see more states opening back up. Hopefully it continues on that trend!” He added, “Our quality has been good, and we are hoping to be done by the end of the month which will give us short amount of time to prepare for new crop on the horizon.” Jared said, “We anticipate our new crop winter-overs to come off around the week of the June 22, followed along by our transplant program and then our early direct seed.”
Rick Greener with Greener Produce in Ketchum told us on May 20 that he is currently moving onions out of California, Arizona, New Mexico, and still a few out of the Northwest. “Demand is decent,” he said. “It comes in bumps, you know. Yes, some of the uncertainty is due to the COVID virus, but this type of situation is not completely new. Produce in general is always uncertain.” He continued, “Of course, retail continues to be the deal. I don’t think foodservice has really opened up that much. I haven’t sold a colossal in weeks. The USDA buying program has done a number on medium availability. Basically, if you can find mediums, you better get them, and you’re going to pay a premium for them.” Rick said the market is steady. “I don’t see it moving up a whole lot, but then again the New Mexico folks always come out of the gate extremely strong. They market like that every year. That might be a help to the market, but we’ll just have to see how it all plays out.”
David DeBerry with Southwest Onion Growers in Mission said on May 20 he has “huge crews showing up every day, and we’re moving through the acreage at Eagle Pass and Mexico.” He said crews have said they want to work seven days, and he added, “We’re absolutely as grateful as we can be.” Southwest Onion Growers ha all three colors, and David said demand is “good on all, with whites a little draggy with a lot of competition.” Transportation, he said, is “fine so far, and we’ve been paying the same rates all month.” He said a change there could come over Memorial Weekend.
Jared Gutierrez with Columbia Basin Onion in Hermiston, OR, said on May 20, “The crop is coming along well. We have been getting some rain the last couple of days, and the forecast is showing good weather with some heat units coming into next week.”
Northwest, Idaho-E. Oregon, Washington:
Jason Pearson with Eagle Eye Produce in Nyssa, OR, reported on May 20 that the crops in Idaho-E. Oregon and in Washington are in good shape. “We’ve had some rain lately, which has been good for the onions,” Jason said. “Crops in both areas of the Northwest are coming along nicely. Stands look very good, and the crops are healthy and growing well.”
James Johnson with Carzalia Valley Produce in Columbus said on May 20 his New Mexico crop will start next week. He had said earlier in May the crop will kick off with yellows, with whites and reds coming in about 10 days to two weeks after that.
Colorado Western Slope:
David DeBerry with Southwest Onion Growers in Mission, TX, said on May 20 his Colorado growers are reporting onions growing and the crop on track for a late August start to harvest. “We’ll likely be packing by Labor Day,” he said.