Featured image: Imperial Valley, California, courtesy of Robert Bell, Western Onion Sales, Inc.
Imperial Valley CA:
Jason Pearson with Eagle Eye Produce reported on May 22 from his Nyssa, OR sales office, saying, “Demand has been very good this week. We have been moving primarily yellows, followed by reds and some whites. There seems to be quite a bit of demand for jumbo yellows right now. The market is stable, and our company has been successful in getting trucks. Plus, the quality has been very good. So all in all things are going very smoothly for us out of California. We anticipate shipping out of the region through June 3 or 4, but we will begin our Hatch, NM, program at the end of next week.”
John Harris with Paradigm Fresh in Fort Morgan emailed on Tuesday, “Good Morning from snow covered Colorado on May 21. Nothing like waking up to a fresh six inches of snow and 20 broken trees!” He went on to say that the onion market “continues to make adjustments this week,” noting that Texas is “basically finished up except the Winter Garden area that has a bit to offer each day.” John said California is the main shipping district on onions in the West, “with New Mexico just starting to come on board this week with a few offerings as well.” The market, he said, “is fairly steady with each shipper having maybe a slightly different take on his version of what needs to move. Whites are officially back down to reasonable levels and we managed to get here without too much bloodshed on the way down.” He said Paradigm has “a little of everything to offer all of our customers.”
Texas Rio Grande Valley/Mexico:
Don Ed Holmes with The Onion House in Weslaco, TX, said on May 22 his last onion from Texas was shipping that afternoon. “We’re finished with Texas today,” he said on Wednesday. “We’ll still have whites from Chihuahua that will run into June, and the quality is just excellent.” He said border crossings are still a bit problematic, noting, “They’re still having some issues getting across, but that seems to be getting better.”
Cliff Riner with G&R Farms in Glennville, GA told us that G&R has been busy for the upcoming holiday. “Overall movement has been very good, but of the last couple days we have seen an extra push for Memorial Day,” he said. “There is a lot of interest from retailers for bin promotions, including our FFA program promotion. On this quality, we have really been blessed. We finished harvest on May 15, and with dry weather at the end, it helped the quality. Plus, when we had the heat during the third and fourth week of April, we made a decision to not push the onions with irrigation, and that paid off. The onions were growing fast, and we didn’t want them to get so big that they split. Not irrigating was the right thing to do, because the quality turned out nice.”
Jason Vee with Vee’s Marketing in Superior, WI, weighed in on May 22, saying, “I better keep it short this week. We are doing some prep to move into a new space in the building I’m currently in. I was just working on a little art project where I’m framing people’s bags and labels. I like this one: Monty Mae, courtesy of the fellas at The Onion House. If anyone else wants to be on the wall at Vee’s Marketing, send me your bags and cartons.” He went on to say, “That’s a wrap for me in the Texas Valley this year. There are still a few onions left. But for business like mine where I need multiple colors, sizes and packs on the same truck, the Texas Valley is no longer the right place for me. However, that does make it a honey hole for the right items if you can find them. Those Texas guys did good this year. You couldn’t wipe the smiles from their faces when I went there last month. Good on them.” And, Jason said, “Southern California is almost done as well. I find that to be strange. I expected that to go another three or four weeks, but I heard at least four of the big sheds are wrapping it up next week. Crops were down significantly, but they also got run over. And that’s great news for New Mexico, who starts Monday next week. This onion market isn’t what it was six weeks ago, but it’s not terrible. And if Texas and California clean up as New Mexico gets started, I don’t see any reason for more market decline. Overlapping districts and heaps of supply push markets down. We don’t have that right now. We are in great shape for strong markets in June.”
California San Joaquin Valley:
Steve Baker with Baker & Murakami Produce in Ontario, OR, told us on May 22 San Joaquin onions are about 10 days out. “The San Joaquin will have a June 1 start-up. This is about a week later than normal. They have had cooler temperatures and some precipitation that has pushed back the normal start-up date,” Steve said.
Michael Locati with Pacific Agra Farms told us on May 22 that Mother Nature needs to be on meds. All’s good with the crop, he said, adding, “We’ve gotten two inches of rain since Friday. We’re still irrigating the drier areas a little bit, but the rain has given us a bit of a breather. The onions are loving that it’s not 90 degrees, which is always good.” Michael has said in the past he was anticipating to be rolling mid-June, but he noted on Wednesday, “We’ll know more about the start in the next week or two. Right now we’re still looking at mid-June. The earlies are sizing up, and our later varieties are right on track.” Below are some beautiful photos of the crop, courtesy of Michael Locati
Jason Pearson with Eagle Eye Produce in Nyssa, OR, told us that the crop looks good. “We have been pretty wet recently, but the plants are responding well, and everything looks good so far,” Jason said.
Herb Haun with Haun Packing in Weiser, ID, said on May 22 that “things are going quite well” in the Treasure Valley. He said, “We have just had a pretty wet week, but we had ideal conditions the first half of May.” The wet week later in the month totaled two inches of rain, but Herb said the precip came without any ill effects. “From Ontario to Boise it was close to record rainfall, but there were no heavy downpours or damaging conditions, and the onions came through fine.” He said Haun Packing’s earliest onions are expected to start the first week of August, and the operation will get into storage mid to later September, although dates could change as the season progresses.
Western Colorado/Corinne, UT:
Don Ed Holmes with The Onion House in Weslaco, TX, said his growers’ crops in Western Colorado and Corinne, UT, are coming along. “The growers are hoping for warmer weather, but both crops are on track now. It all looks good, but the onions need the summer heat units.”