Featured image Eastern Oregon harvest photo, courtesy of Dallin Klingler with Eagle Eye Produce
One sure sign of October, along with pumpkin spice everything, is PMA Fresh Summit and the flurry of activity surrounding it. Many folks are really engaged this week with all the goings-on at this year’s innovative virtual event, and we’re glad to see it. To all our frequent contributors who are attending online sessions and Zooming with customers, we’ll talk to you soon.
In the meantime, we bring you news from several onion production areas that are in full swing, starting with…
Jason Pearson with Eagle Eye Produce in Nyssa, OR, told us on Oct. 14 that demand is slower this week. “We are moving all colors and sizes, but it seems demand has slowed a bit,” he said. “The big-ticket item this week is whites. Mexico is pulling a good amount of mediums and jumbos.” Jason continued, “Along with lower demand, the market is soft. People are doing some deals out there, and honestly, we should be at least a dollar higher.” He noted that Eagle Eye’s harvest and storage are complete. “We’re going full steam on production, and we’ve got everything in the barn,” Jason said. “We have been fortunate this year that between family farm members and a pretty large crew, we didn’t suffer on labor getting the onions in storage while going strong on production.”
Herb Haun with Haun Packing in Weiser, ID, told us on October 12 his operation has finished harvesting. “We’ve had beautiful weather, and the Treasure Valley is wrapping up with harvest,” Herb said. He noted the region had gotten some rain over the last weekend, but he said it didn’t impact harvest or the onions. “Quality is excellent, and sizing overall is good,” he said, adding the trend is to jumbos. “Some onions are bigger and a few smaller. I think mediums are likely to be tight.” Herb said the market has been steady, with demand “adequate to good.” Foodservice continues to pick up, and retail has remains strong. “Demand is good on all three colors,” he said, and he added that the Farmers to Families Food Box Program has helped retail demand overall.
Rick Greener with Greener Produce in Ketchum took some time from his “free-range” business selling onions while mule-deer hunting. On Oct. 14 Rick said, “Demand is OK this week, but nothing spectacular. I would say it’s just steady. Whites and reds are tight. Mexico is pulling a decent amount, so that helps. Yellows in all sizes are moving at an average pace. Retail remains strong. Not sure about foodservice. I hear Toronto closed all restaurants, so we all hope that foodservice business doesn’t drop.” Rick said he is moving onions out of Idaho, Washington, Oregon, Utah, Colorado, Kansas, and Michigan. “Where we source onions depends on where the customers are and how we can get them the best onions with reasonable freight,” he said. “Quality has been good across the board for all areas, though I have heard that some yields are off, so that should help the market. The market is holding now, and that should continue. Definitely no reason to go down.”
Colorado Western Slope:
David DeBerry with Southwest Onion Growers in Mission, TX. told us on Oct. 14 his Delta growers are in a gap for a week and will start shipping all three colors out of storage the week of Oct. 19. He said the shed is installing new consumer packing equipment.