California Imperial Valley:
Jake Jurney with L&M Companies in Raleigh, NC, reported on May 30 that demand has been very good this week. “We have been moving about 20-30 loads a day, so demand is good,” Jake said. “We are a little tight on mediums, but we have good availability on all other sizes.” When asked about the market, Jake said, “The market is steady right now, but it’s had its ups and downs over the last couple of weeks.” He said L&M will be shipping out of Calipatria until the end of next week.
Robert Bell with Western Onion based in Camarillo told us May 30 he’ll be going in the Imperial Valley another several weeks, and he added that some shippers are going into storage and will go even longer. Robert commented that the onions coming out of the Imperial Valley have been “nice, big single-centered.” Many thanks to Robert for providing great photos this week including our featured image of a Bakersfield yellow. More of Robert’s photos can be seen at the end of this post.
John Vlahandreas with Wada Farms reported from the Troy Caston Farms sales office in Brawley. “Demand is awesome today and has been for the last two days,” he said. “It’s a good thing because demand has been terrible for the last three weeks. Demand is highly active for reds and whites, and good for yellows too. We just need to start seeing higher yellow prices so we can get some decent return back to our growers.” John said the Mexican imports have impacted the Imperial Valley market. “The U.S. dollar is so strong that Mexican growers can bring across their onions at lower prices and still make money, and it is really hurting the domestic onion industry,” he said. “Of course, the Imperial Valley had more acreage than what was harvested in the last three or four years, so that didn’t help.” John said transportation is the worst it’s been in years. “It’s hard to find trucks, and the rates for trucks that are available are extremely high. We have to be cautious,” John said. “You can’t just load trucks at any price. It doesn’t make sense.” John said that Caston will be shipping this week and next. “We have good volume in all colors and sizes across the board, and quality is good too.” He noted, “Hot weather is expected this weekend, but we aren’t concerned because the onions are under cover, and we run at night when it’s cooler.”
Thanks to John for the great Troy Caston photos:
California San Joaquin Valley:
Robert Bell with Camarillo-based Western Onion said on May 30 that Bakersfield was just getting started, and he said Western Onion will be in that area until late July, when he’ll go to the high desert production areas.
Steve Baker with Baker & Murakami Produce Co. in Ontario, OR, told us on May 30 that the company is beginning its California San Joaquin Valley shipments. “We won’t start full speed until June 4, and we should go until at least until mid-August,” Steve said.
Bob Meek with Onions 52 in Syracuse, UT, said the New Mexico deal was just getting started in late May at Carzalia Valley Produce in Columbus. “They harvested their first onions late last week and had them in the dryer over the weekend,” Bob said. “They started packing yesterday and are off and running now.” He said early sizing was trending to mediums, but he noted, “We’re seeing bigger sizes as we work across the fields.”
Texas Rio Grande Valley:
Don Ed Holmes with The Onion House in Weslaco said May 30 was his last day for the Texas onions. “This is the latest I’ve ever shipped,” he said of that region.
Texas Winter Garden/Eagle Pass:
Bob Meek with Onions 52 in Syracuse, UT, told us the Eagle Pass season will wrap up in mid-June. “It’s not a long season,” he said, adding that the onions sized well.
Danny Ray with Ray Farms in Glennville, GA, reported on May 30 that demand is good this week. “Demand is picking up as we make our transition from fresh to storage onions,” Danny said. “And the market seems to be picking up as well. It’s about $11 to $12 now, and we expect it to get up to $14 once we get into our storage crop next week.” Danny said the recent storms were not as bad as anticipated. “We left a few onions in the fields with the recent heavy rains, but overall it really wasn’t too bad.” He said that Ray Farms expects to ship through its normal shipping period to Labor Day.
Bob Meek with Onions 52 in Syracuse, UT, said the Prosser, WA, 2017-18 shipping season had ended, and he noted the 2018 crop is “going well, and stands are looking good.” Bob said onions will start shipping from Prosser in August.
Jason Walker with Bybee Produce in Prosser, WA, told us on May 30 the company has completed shipping for the 2017-2018 season and the 2018 new crop is progressing well. “The crop is looking good so far, and we expect to have onions in late July or the first part of August,” he said. “We have kept the same planting program we have had in the past, and we haven’t had any issues so far.” Jason also mentioned that Bybee Produce will be exhibiting at the upcoming United Fresh Expo in Chicago June 26- 27. “Our booth number is 1840, and we are looking forward to connecting with our customers to talk about the upcoming season.”
Herb Haun with Haun Packing in Weiser, ID, told us May 30 the Idaho-Eastern Oregon crop is coming along nicely. “We could definitely be in the marketplace by the first of August,” Herb said. “Right now the early onions look to be ahead of normal harvest by about two weeks, and the rest of the crop will most likely have a normal harvest date.” Herb said some of the region’s stands have been impacted by weather. “The area is seeing some reduction in stands due to winds and heavy rains, but overall we should have a normal sized crop this year,” he said.
Grant Kitamura with Baker & Murakami Produce Co. in Ontario, OR, told us the crop is progressing well. “We are looking forward to an early start this season, and we will have onions available the first of August,” Grant said. “While we have had intermittent weather issues, there’s been nothing serious and stands are still looking good. We are fortunate because we have growers that cover the entire valley, so even with some weather, we are in good shape. Overall, the IEO crop is very healthy, and we expect a quality crop with normal yields this season.”
Thanks to Grant for IEO crop progress photos:
Jake Jurney with L&M Companies in Raleigh, NC, told us L&M will begin shipping its New Mexico product the middle or end of next week. “We might have a little bit of overlap with our California shipments, but not much,” Jake said. “We are very excited about our New Mexico season. The crop is looking really nice.” Jake also mentioned that the L&M’s Kansas crop is all in the ground. “The crop has all been planted, but we are in the very early stages of growth so we don’t have a lot to update on yet.”
Doug Bulgrin with Gumz Farms Inc. in Endeavor, WI, told us Gumz has completed its season’s shipments and has been focusing on planting, “We are still working on getting a few transplants in the ground, but the majority of our crop is in,” Doug said. “We had a fair amount of rain over the last month, but this week we have had some very warm weather, into the 90s. The onions are responding well, and they are really growing now.”
Robert Bell California photos: