Featured image: Western Colorado crop progress, photo courtesy of David DeBerry with Southwest Onion Growers in McAllen, TX
Matt Murphy with L&M Cos. in Raleigh, NC, said on Sept. 12 his team is very busy this week. “Demand good, and we are rockin’ and rollin’ out of the Jensen place in Warden,” he said. “We are getting close to halfway done with harvest with about a month to go. We have onions going into storage, and we are shipping our later stuff now. Quality is excellent.” Matt added, “Buyers are looking for all colors and sizes, and reds and whites are in high demand right now.” On the market, Matt said it’s steady. “Of course the market could be higher, but it’s higher than it was a couple of weeks ago. And it seems like we have a solid footing now. With Idaho slow out of the gate, we need to see how it all shakes out when they are running full steam. But honestly with good demand and a solid market, we don’t have many complaints.” Matt said L&M’s Kansas and Colorado deal is also slow out of the gate. “We are running, and we expect to be at full steam next week. But there has been some rain that’s slowed us down a bit in those areas.” On transportation, Matt said it’s been easy. “We don’t have a problem getting trucks,” he said. “You might have to pay a little more, but we can get the trucks and good trucks, which is important.”
Rick Greener with Greener Produce in Ketchum, ID, told us that his team has been busy this week. “Things started great this week, so we’ll take it,” he said. “We are finishing with California, still just getting going out of Idaho and shipping most of our product out of Washington and Oregon with Michigan starting to trickle in.” Rick went on to say, “Quality out of all areas has been good, so no complaints there. Buyers are looking for retail stuff and colossals. That really hasn’t changed much for the last several weeks. Availability is good, but if you want reds and whites, plan ahead. The availability there has been sporadic.” On the market, Rick said it’s been steady. “The market seems solid right now – steady and holding.” In closing, Rick commented on freight. Noting, “Transportation is good now. Trucks have made the shift up north. Fuel prices are high, so freights is going to be high too, but getting trucks is no problem.”
Jason Pearson with Eagle Eye Produce in Nyssa, OR, told us this week that demand is very good. “For the last couple of weeks we have been super busy,” he said. “Whites and reds are in hot demand, but honestly, everything is moving well across the board. Quality has been excellent, and we are still just scratching the surface on harvest. We haven’t even gotten into our storage stuff yet.” Jason added, “We have perfect harvest weather now with cool nights and warm, but not hot, days.” On the market, Jason said, “For us the market has been steady.” He noted that transportation is going smoothly. “If you want a truck, you can definitely find one, so no complaints there.”
Steve Baker with Baker & Murakami Produce in Ontario, OR, told us on Sept. 12, “We are shipping yellow, white and red onions now with good size. All colors are heavier to the jumbo sizes, with very few mediums at this time. We should have a few more medium yellows with the lots we will be running by the end of the week.” Steve added, “Right now the crop looks like it will have better size than we have seen the previous two years. Overall I think we will have normal yields this season.” He said demand is fair this week on larger size onions, and demand for medium sized onions is good.” Looking at the market, Steve said, “It will be interesting the next few weeks with the start-up of permanent storage/harvest and how that affects the market. Depending on the availability of labor, packing sheds might have to cut back on their packing production to get the crop harvested.”
David DeBerry with Southwest Onion Growers in McAllen, TX, told us on Sept. 11 his Colorado Western Slope deal is ready to start. “We’ll get going on all colors later this week,” he said. “Once we start with Ahlberg Family Farms crop, we’ll probably go 30-45 days, hopefully without a break, and then straight into the Brent & Regina Hines Farms crop. Hines will run through the end of the year and maybe into January.” Our thanks to David for the great photos of both growing operations taken in August.
Don Ed Holmes with The Onion House in Weslaco, said on Sept. 12 his Olathe grower expects to start his season next week with reds leading and yellows and whites added soon after.
Lou Getzelman with Canyon Sales Co. on the Hunts Point Market told us on Sept. 12, “We’re getting good reports out of Northwest. Washington, Idaho and Oregon all are picking up steam, and the yields look to be good. We’re hearing that it is a good crop, but we’re not expecting a bumper crop.” Lou continued, “Demand for all colors is good, with jumbo red demand picking up steam last week. Idaho looks to have bigger stuff than last year, which is good news.” He said, “The market seems to have rebounded with the majority of the summer deals cleaned up, and there looks to be more room to increase.” On transportation, Lou said, “No changes on trucks rates as they are still readily available. We will start loading freight cars of onions into the New York market this week, and so we’re hoping those cars arrive quickly. When the rail is running well and on time, it’s another way for the receivers and shippers to both benefit. Fingers crossed.”
Brad Sumner with Pacific Coast Trading Co. in Portland told us on Sept. 12 that demand for organic onions “remains steady and always consistent.” He said, “As I have spoken about in the past, the customer demand for organic onions has reached a peak in my opinion. Supply and demand have equaled each other out. Our orders remain good, steady and consistent. They peak a bit on holidays, fall and winter holidays mostly. This makes crop programming and management easier.” Brad added, “Medium reds and yellows seem to still be a little more active and more sought after.” About the market, he commented, “The beauty of the organic market is that it never quickly dips too low or rapidly climbs too high. So far, heading into the full storage onion season, the market is normal and predicable.” Looking at the Northwest, Brad said it is “about two weeks from full swing.” He said, “Late rains delayed some areas. The bigger players in California are holding for a Thanksgiving run or finishing up and moving to their next areas.” Quality is good, he said,. “I continue to be very happy with quality out of all the regions, which is particularly good after the rain the Baja and Antelope Valley crops got.” And looking at transportation, Brad said, “My sources are telling me that in about two weeks there will be plenty of onions ready to be shipped South from the Northwest. With California finishing, this means plenty of loads available with just so many trucks to carry them.”
Don Ed Holmes with The Onion House in Weslaco, TX, told us on Sept. 11, “I’ll ask them today and catch you tomorrow. Utah is lifting onions today. Wade Norman said this is one of his best crops, with great size, yield and quality.” Don Ed said the Corinne shipping season will have an early October start with all three colors.