Featured image: Walla Walla, WA onion progress, courtesy of Michael Locati with Locati Farms and Pacific Agra Farms
John Vlahandreas with Wada Farms gave his report from Troy Caston Farms on May 4. “Well, we got started last Wednesday, and to be honest, I wasn’t sure how everyone here in the desert was going to do,” John said. “It turns out, all the shippers here rallied together and have worked together to get this season started off right, and it’s been great! Demand is very good, and the market has remained strong. Looks like this season going to be worth it. The growers deserve it, so we all need to let them have it. Quality is fabulous and demand is high as well. Transportation is OK. We have been able to get trucks. So far, so good there.” Many thanks to John for sending in photos of the Troy Caston onions getting ready to ship.
Jason Pearson with Eagle Eye Produce reported in on May 4 from his Nyssa, OR, sales office this week. “We are shipping out of Texas and California this week,” he said. “Texas has about 10 more days to go, and California is just ramping up. In Texas, harvest should be done this week, and then we should have everything all sold out of there by the end of next week. California is just getting started and should be up to running full steam by next week so things are working out smoothly.” He added, “All sizes and colors are coming out of both areas and we are just working with customers on getting the onions out of both areas based on where they need to go. There has been good demand across the board this week on all colors and sizes, but in particular, buyers are looking for medium yellows. We’re happy with the pricing. The market has remained steady this week.” When asked about transportation, Jason said, “We can get the trucks, but as always, it’s expensive. No surprise there.”
Chris Woo with Owyhee Produce in Nyssa, OR, and Parma, ID, told us on May 4 there is “very limited shipments still coming from Idaho and Washington State out of cold storage mostly for program business.” He said that Vidalia is shipping with “moderate demand as well as Texas and Southern Calif desert.” And, Chris said “Pricing remains decent. Here’s hoping our growers can finally see some financial light at the end of the tunnel after paying more for increased labor, fuel, growing, and transportation cost.” Chris also said, “Owyhee produce will now be shipping out of northern Mexico by Chihuahua crossing through McAllen, TX, and also packing and shipping out of Phoenix, AZ. “
Rick Greener with Greener Produce in Ketchum told us on May 4 that demand is steady this week. “I wouldn’t say demand is off the charts by any means, but demand is steady this week,” he said. “We have about 10 days left on shipments out of South Texas, and we have just a few remaining loads shipping out of Washington, but then we will be shipping exclusively out of California and Mexico.” He continued, “I have to say there is something going on with the Mexican onions at the border. Not sure what is going on, but we’re hearing that there are loads not making it across. Not sure if it’s a quality issue or the administration, but I guess it’s easier to swim across to get here instead of drive. But California is just now ramping up, so by the middle or the end of next week, they should be going full steam.” When asked what buyers are looking for in terms of colors and size, Rick said he is selling all colors and sizes. Buyers are looking for primarily all colors in smaller sizes right now,” he said. “So smaller reds are the hot item at the moment. There is quite a bit of demand for yellows too.” On transportation, Rick recommended planning early. “We are able to get the trucks, but planning is recommended so we can try to get the best and most competitive rates.” Finally, Rick added, “Here in Idaho, we had snow twice this week. It’s burned off now, but we sure needed the moisture, so it’s all good.”
David DeBerry with Southwest Onion Growers in McAllen told us on May 4, “Not a lot to change from last week’s report other than we have now moved 100 percent into the Winter Garden.” All colors and sizes are shipping. And, David said, “For us, the Texas valley area is done for the year. It goes without saying this was one of the most successful seasons in south Texas ever.” He also commented on trucks and labor, saying, “Transportation seems to be adequate and most times able to arrange transportation on the same day needed. Labor force in the Winter Garden thus far has been sufficient as well.”
Don Ed Holmes with The Onion House in Weslaco said on May 4 he had started clipping again in the Rio Grande Valley after recent rains. “We’re clipping again and will pick back up shipping on Thursday. We should have good supplies this week, next week and the following week, and then we’ll be just about done here in S. Texas.” The Onion House is shipping yellows and reds from the Rio Grande Valley, and Chihuahua will start with whites Monday or Tuesday of next week, he said.
Jason Pearson with Eagle Eye Produce reported in on May 4 from his Nyssa, OR, sales office telling us that Eagle Eye’s grower base has all of their onions in the ground. “We have all of our onions planted, and things look good,” he said. “We have had some rain recently, and that has really helped. We will have roughly the same acreage in both Northwest regions this season.”
Paul Skeen with Skeen Farms in Nyssa, OR, reported in on the Treasure Valley crop progress on May 4. “Everything in the Treasure Valley is in the ground,” he said. “It’s been a little rough weatherwise this planting season. Some areas had strong winds, and there was some need for replanting.” Paul added, “We have been blessed with recent storms on both sides of the Snake River that provided much-needed snow in the mountains and rain in the valley.” He went on to say, “I have to say it seems like every day we are seeing rising input costs. Diesel is up. Fertilizer is up, and labor has skyrocketed. All I can say is it’s it literally takes your breath away. With the Fed raising interest rates to correct inflation, it looks like we are headed for a ‘stagflation’ or even a recession, and then who knows where we’ll be. It’s not surprising when I hear that shippers are finding it hard to do contracts because the cost of growers’ production seems to increase almost daily.”
Chris Woo with Owyhee Produce in Nyssa, OR, and Parma, ID, said on May 4, “Spring here Idaho-Oregon so far has been on the cooler side with some wind and much needed intermittent rain showers. Most of the crop plantings can be rowed or seen above the ground. Waiting on heat units to get this crop going which will eventually happen.”
Don Ed Holmes with The Onion House in Weslaco, TX, told us on May 4 crops are in the ground in both Corinne, UT, and on Colorado’s Western Slope. “Everything’s good,” Don Ed said, adding that the Colorado acreage is similar to last year’s. Utah’s is down slightly, he said.
Michael Locati with Locati Farms and Pacific Agra Farms told us on May 4, “Things are looking good. In between rains right now, so we’re catching our breath. Still looking like first week of June start but that will depend on May weather. So far so good.” Our thanks to Michael for great photos of the 2022 Walla Walla Sweet crop.