Featured image: Zito Farms crop progress, photo courtesy of Jared Zito with Zito Farms in Glenns Ferry, ID
Washington/Rocky Ford, CO/Ulysses, KS
Matt Murphy with L&M Cos. in Raleigh, NC, told us on Aug. 31 that demand is on fire for Washington onions this week. “Business is hot for Washington onions,” he said. “We are completely sold out for the week as of yesterday afternoon. Demand is the best I have ever seen it for this time in August, and the market is super strong as well.” He continued, “I think it has a lot to do with availability. California is all cleaned up, and there aren’t any stragglers down south. Idaho-E. Oregon is getting off to a slow start, so really Washington is the only game in town right now, and it’s keeping demand and pricing for Washington onions super high.” Matt added, “Our quality is excellent, and sizing seems to be larger than usual. We aren’t getting a ton of mediums, but we are getting what we need to get consumer pack orders filled.” On transportation, Matt said it’s been better than usual. “Transportation seems to be better than normal for this time of year. We know that this has a lot to do with the fact that onions out of the Ontario, OR, area haven’t really ramped up yet, and the apple season hasn’t really picked up, so we know that will change in the coming weeks. But for now, we are taken advantage of it,” he said. Matt noted that L&Ms SE Colorado program started shipping whites. “We started shipping out of Rocky Ford on Monday, and we will start shipping out of Ulysses, KS, this afternoon. We started with whites out of Rocky Ford, and we are sold out for the week there like Washington. Both areas will be shipping yellows and reds by Monday, and we should be going full steam for both areas by the middle or end of next week.”
Steve Baker with Baker & Murakami Produce in Ontario, OR, told us on Aug. 31, ‘There has been a lot of interest on onions this week.” He added, “Most days this week demand exceeds supplies.” Steve said Baker and Murakami Produce is shipping mostly yellows and reds, although he noted, “We are shipping occasionally a few whites. The yellows are mostly jumbo size, and the size profile on the red onions is smaller than yellows.”Demand is good across the board, and Steve said, “Business on all sizes and colors is very good at this time. Quality has been very good to start off with.” He also said, “The market has been very strong this week.” On transportation, Steve said it “has not been an issue the first part of the week, but with the holiday weekend coming up, you might see trucks tighten up. Time will tell.”
Herb Haun with Weiser Onion Produce in Weiser, ID, reported to us on Aug. 31 that the new season’s onions were good quality, and demand is exceeding supplies. “The crop is a little later than normal,” he said. “But the heat is helping the onions mature and dry nicely, and quality has been very good.” Herb continued, “We haven’t been able to keep up with demand the last couple of weeks.” Weiser Onion Produce is currently shipping yellows and reds, and Herb said whites will be added to the mix in the next couple of weeks. “We’re harvesting four or five days ahead of running,” he said. “We’ll start storage in a couple of weeks.” Market conditions are strong, and he said transportation “so far has been pretty easy, pretty good.” On labor, he said it remains tight. “We could have used a few more people during harvest,” Herb said.
Joshua Frederick with Snake River Produce in Nyssa, OR, provided us an update on Aug. 31, saying, “IT’S HOT! ‘What’s hot?’ you ask. The temperatures outside and the potato and onion market.” He continued, “We are running full steam with all colors now. Harvest has been going for us a couple of weeks, but we are working mostly early in the mornings binning onions and harvesting at night once these temps drop down.” Josh said, “We are predicted to have 100-plus degrees until the 6th of September, and then hopefully we’ll have fall-like temps and we can hammer down to complete harvest.” He said thus far the size profile “is as expected, medium to a small jumbo range. There will be some big onions here from our shed but nothing like the previous season.” And he said, “Our white and red program is the best we have had in years, so we are excited to offer some great size profile and color to ship with these Spanish Sweets.” Transportation, he said, “has not seemed to be any issue, and we are still a couple of months off before that may occur.” Our thanks to Josh for the great harvest time photos. (Click to enlarge and scroll)
Many thanks to Jared Zito with Zito Farms in Glenns Ferry ID for sending in this week’s featured image of his onion crop progress and the additional beautiful photo provided below.
Rick Greener with Greener Produce in Ketchum, ID, reported in on Aug. 31 telling us he’s never seen a market like this in August. “I haven’t been in the business 100 years, but I have to tell you I have never seen a market like this in August before,” he said. “Despite what some might be saying, it’s legit. Availability is low right now, and you just have to get what you can get and pay the price. I honestly don’t see this strong market going down anytime soon.” Rick continued, “Right now we are selling out of Idaho, Oregon and Washington, and we have some beautiful whites coming out of California. But the thing is, shippers are selling out fast. Washington is sold out for the week except for scraps, and Idaho-Oregon has very little because they are really just getting started, so there isn’t much out there.” He added, “You can get on the books and price day of ship, and that might be the best you’re going to do right now. I am telling you the market is very dynamic right now. I think that’s the best way to put it. If you can find it, GET IT!” When asked about transportation, Rick said it’s eased up. “It’s actually pretty good right now. Drivers are looking for loads, so that’s a positive thing,” he commented.
Colorado Western Slope:
Don Ed Holmes with The Onion House in Weslaco, TX, said on Aug. 31 that his Olathe, CO, deal will kick off after Labor Day. “We’ll get going the middle of next week,” he said. “We’ll start with reds, and yellows and whites will follow within days. Everything looks really good for now.” Don Ed also works a Corinne, UT, deal, and that will start in mid-October. He said the Utah crop is also looking good.
David DeBerry with Southwest Onion Growers in McAllen, TX, told us on Aug. 31 his Delta, CO, onions will start shipping late next week. “We’ll have all three colors,” he said of the start-up. “Sizing and yields on all three colors are average or better, and we have a good weather forecast for the next 10 days.” David said market conditions and transportation availability reports are favorable.