Colorado; Utah; Idaho; Nyssa, OR; Prosser, WA:
Bob Meek with Utah Onions in Syracuse, UT, provided us with a good overview of several production areas on Sept. 20. “We’re shipping out of all areas and running all our operations,” he said. “We’re out of the field now. Some of the onions are going inside to set the skin and cure, but then they’re going right out the door.” Bob said the operations in Utah and in Nyssa, OR were on rain delay. His outlook is positive: “I think this market has every potential to be strong for the next few months. I don’t see any weakness between now and the end of the year.”
Colorado Western Slope:
Don Ed Holmes with The Onion House in Weslaco, TX, said on Sept. 20 that John Harold in Olathe, CO, is running and packing yellow onions now. “He told me movement and prices are very good, and he said quality is also very good,” Don Ed said. The yellows have sized “heavy to jumbos with a few mediums,” he added. “And we should have reds at the end of next week, and then we’ll go on to whites.”
Steve Smith with National Onion Inc. of Las Cruces, NM, reported in from his Utah deal, saying the rain that has slowed production in the Northwest has also affected his operation. “We ran a few transplants starting Aug. 15 for about a week, and then we started with a little direct seed,” Steve said, noting the late summer heat had slowed sizing, and it was decided to hold those onions for a while longer. “Now it’s raining, but we should get going again in a day or so.” He said the sizing is mostly jumbos and mediums, with fewer colossals and supers. And he noted there are a few reds, with the majority of the crop in yellows. Utah onions will ship until the end of March.
Herb Haun with Haun Packing in Weiser, ID, told us Sept. 20 that demand is very good this week. “Historically, demand hasn’t been at the high level that it is right now,” Herb said. “We are out of yellows, and we are still staying busy with our reds and whites,” He said demand is heavy great across the board for all sizes. “I expect that we will have yellows Monday or Tuesday,” Herb said. “We have had some rain, but the fields aren’t that wet. If we get a day or a day and a half of sunshine, we’ll be able to get more onions in, including yellows.” Herb said the rain has had a positive effect on quality. “Usually, when the onions get a little rain, they tend to cure better,” he said. “The skins get tight, and it becomes a real pretty crop.” Herb added that the market is “stable and strong” this week. “I don’t see the market slipping at all,” he said.
Jason Pearson with Eagle Eye Produce’s Nyssa, OR, office told us Sept. 20 that the three days of rain the area has received has made things “a little bit slower, but we’ll get through it.” Jason said supplies are good for the week.”
Grant Kitamura with Baker & Murakami Produce Co. in Ontario, OR, said on Sept. 20 that harvest has been curtailed due to scattered rains. “Well, it rained again today, and nothing is being harvested here or around the valley,” Grant said. “So it goes without saying that demand exceeds supply. While these scattered rain storms make for pretty brown onions and definitely heightens their appearance, it doesn’t help with immediate supply,” he added. Baker & Murakami’s availability is limited, and Grant said, “Some shippers are totally out of onions for the week. We have onions right now, but it’s all tight across the board. Our growers hope to get in by the weekend, but getting adequate availability just doesn’t happen overnight. We have to harvest and dry the onions before they can be shipped, and that takes a time.”
Lance Poole and Jason Pearson with Eagle Eye Produce told us the Mattawa, WA, crop “just got started this past week.” Lance said, “The onions are on schedule, and we’re shipping yellows, reds and whites, and quality looks great.” Jason added the onions from Mattawa will ship through April.
John Vlahandreas with Wada Farms in Idaho Falls, ID, reported on the Brooks area on Sept. 20, saying, “We got a lot of rain here, but it looks like starting on the weekend we going to get a good three to five days of nice weather, so harvest will pick back up in a major way.” John said growers and shippers will have their plates full trying to harvest and run at the same time. “Probably next week will be a transition week,” he said. “It’s likely that everyone will be trying to get as many onions harvested as they can and won’t run as many.” John said the market is stable. “Some guys went up on the market,” he said. “It may have slowed movement slightly, but not enough to matter.”
Don Ed Holmes with The Onion House in Weslaco, TX, said his Corinne, UT, onion crop continues to go into storage. “They’re still a couple of weeks away from shipping,” he said on Sept. 20. “They’re putting it into storage now.”
Featured Image: Easterday Farms Instagram post photo of onion field posted week of Sept. 18.