Rick Minkus with Minkus Family Farms in New Hampton told us on May 23 the company has wrapped up shipping New York onions but is marketing onions from other parts of the country. “We are done, but there are still some New York onions out there,” Rick said. “Actually there are onions from newly everywhere. New York, Canada, and the Northwest are shipping older onions, and then you have all the new stuff too. All of this creates sluggish demand and a market that’s not good. On top of all of that, transportation is horrible. You can’t get a truck out of Arizona or Texas. That’s the problem with a good economy. There are easier things to haul than onions, and there are a lot of things moving across the country right now, so onion transportation suffers.’
Dan Borer with Keystone Fruit Co. told us on May 22 that Vidalia is “in full swing and getting to the point where they will start to wrap up the fresh harvest.” Dan added, “That could be quick because of weather, maybe in the next week or two.” He said, “Overall things have been good. The storage crop will start after fresh, and there are ample onions in storage from Vidalia.”
Texas Winter Garden:
David DeBerry with Southwest Onion Growers in McAllen told us his Eagle Pass deal is seeing “good movement but not at very good prices.” He said, “The market hasn’t gone anywhere. One buyer told me there are more unique shippers this week than at any other time of the year. A lot of unique locations have onions for sale.” He added, “Everybody has a good crop, and there is more product out there per acre.” David said official reports indicate the Texas Rio Grande Valley’s acreage was up 10 percent this year, and he said yields have also been up. About Eagle Pass, David said weather conditions have been good. “We continue to dodge the showers that are hitting all around us. We’re not quite halfway done with the deal and could go to June 15, weather permitting. We’re shipping all three colors plus Texas 1015s, and sizing is heavy to jumbos with not as many larger sizes.”
Texas Rio Grande Valley:
Don Ed Holmes with The Onion House in Weslaco said on May 23 he would finish the Rio Grande Valley season on Saturday or early next week.
Don Ed Holmes with The Onion House in Weslaco, TX, said his growers are in “a little gap” this week, but he expects product to be coming in again next week. Don Ed said, “The market is still down, and it’s absolutely crazy.”
Paul Reeping with PR Sales reported on May 23 from his Litchfield sales office. “Demand has picked up this week on smaller sizes, mediums, and pre-packs,” he said, adding, “The best way to term the market right now is ‘unstable.’” Paul said his program will run through June 1. “We have yellows in all sizes, but our highest percentage of the volume is jumbos.”
Brenden Kent with Sunset Produce in Prosser reported on May 23 that Sunset had finished its 2017-2018 season. “Actually, we just shipped the last of our onions today,” Brenden said. When asked how the season turned out for Sunset, he said, “We had a very solid season. Of course, quality is always the focus, and this year was great! Our quality held throughout and we were able to keep our customers happy from start to finish.”
California Imperial Valley:
Dan Borer with Keystone Fruit Co. said on May 22 that Keystone was in transition from Mexico to the Imperial Valley, and he noted the latter had been “plagued with heat.” But he noted, “We concentrate on flats and don’t do a lot of hybrid round onions.” He said the flat onion quality has been “very good, and it fills the gap on sweets between Mexico and Walla Walla.”
Jason Vee with Vee’s Marketing in Lake Nebagamon, WI, told us May 23, “I’m moving along through the districts. I had a good season loading mostly with J. F. Palmer & Sons and Onion House in South Texas. Thanks to Chuck Hill at Onion House and Gary Palmer. The Texas Valley is behind me now, and I’m on to Winter Garden and New Mexico for Midwest business.” He went on to say, “So far so good on Vidalias as well. I expect that to get a little turbulent given the rain forecast into next week and their transition into storage onions. There are still some onions in the ground there. This forecast could be bad news for those guys.” Jason said, “One thing I’m missing is load volume medium and prepacks out of Phoenix and Yuma. The onions are there, but the places I generally go went long on local crop. I’d like to fill that in and help those guys move some volume. If anyone out there is looking for small yellows out of the Southwest, call me.” And, he said, “It’s the week before a holiday regarding trucking. I haven’t given away my paycheck on trucks yet, but I fully anticipate that trucks get expensive before this week is over.”
Trish Lovell with Curry & Co. in Brooks checked in on May 23 to say, “Weather has been great here. Nice warm days, cool nights. Perfect. Haven’t had hardly any rain, and there’s been no wind. The onions coming up nicely with good stands.”
Dan Borer with Keystone Fruit Co.’s Walla Walla office said Keystone will start marketing Northwest sweets and hybrids the last week of July or first week of August. He said the region has had very good growing conditions, and the onions are sizing well. And, he said, “Peru will be on the water in late July, typically making the East Coast mid- to late August and the West Coast early September.”
Brenden Kent with Sunset Produce in Prosser told us May 23 that this season’s onion crop looks very good. “Of course we have time to go yet, but the onions are in and recent weather has been moving them along nicely,” Brenden said. “We are optimistic about this season. So far everything looks good and we are hoping to repeat the same quality that we had in 2017-2018.”
Dan Borer with Keystone Fruit Co. said the Walla Walla crop is “right on time” for its mid- to late June start. “We’ve had ample rains and nice growing weather,” Dan said. “Right now the crop looks very good and is sizing well.
Ryan Fagerberg with Fagerberg Farms/Fagerberg Produce in Eaton told us on May 23 that growing conditions continue to be good. “Everything is good here, just a couple tenths of rain,” Ryan said when asked about an overnight storm in the region. The crop is all in for conventional and organics, and harvest will start in late July.
Bob Sakata with Sakata Farms in Brighton said his area is also experiencing favorable weather, and he noted son Robert was working in the fields on May 23. “We are doing fine,” Bob said. Harvest will start in August.
Rick Minkus with Minkus Family Farms in New Hampton reported that Minkus completed planting May 5. “It was a long planting season this year,” he said. “It would rain, then sunshine. Then rain, then sunshine. Recently, we have had a lot of rain. Today I saw a big orange ball in the sky and had to Google it… it is the sun.” Rick said Minkus will have the same program as last year and will be staying close to home this summer babysitting the little ones in the field.
Feature Image of Imperial Valley, CA courtesy of Robert Bell with Western Onion Sales in Camarillo, CA