Featured image: Cuyama in the Central Valley, courtesy of Robert Bell with Western Onion in Camarillo, CA
California Central Valley:
Robert Bell with Western Onion in Camarillo, CA, has been in Cuyama in the Central Valley and gave us an update on Sept. 15 on harvest progress and securing a crew. He said, “It’s going great. My five forklift drivers are top-notch, which is important because that’s usually my bottleneck when mechanically loading into bins.” Robert said there are “lots of rocks in the field, which plays havoc on my harvester, but since we’re loading storage type onions and it’s much cooler than Bakersfield and no rain in sight, there is no sense of urgency.” He added he expected to finish the field he’s in on Sept. 16, “and then start the last, which we should finish in a couple of weeks. So we’re on track to finish the first week of October as usual.” And, he said, “Our neighbors should start their program here after they finish in Bakersfield and will probably go through November, maybe even into December, depending on when they start.” He said with the Cuyama harvest, “Quality has been excellent. Size profile is two and a half to three and a half inches, which works for these organic onions since they’re mostly for retail.” And weather-wise, he said it’s been 10 degrees cooler this week over last week, and “this trend should continue moving forward.” Many thanks to Robert for sending more photos of Cuyama this week.
Chris Woo with Owyhee Produce in Nyssa, OR, and Parma, ID, told us on Sept. 15, “Onions being harvested are coming in great shape, with great skin and color, but yields and available larger sizes are abnormally way down.” He continued, “Weather so far has been cooperating with our timely harvest. Movement on all three colors is very good, with decent demand and pricing not only domestically but also Canada and Mexico are coming in with orders as well.” Chris said, “The trade has been willing to pay the market knowing that our supply situation for the long-term is much different than in years past. The last time we saw pricing this good was in 2017 during this time period.” And he said, “With our increased labor costs and labor shortages, and with farming costs up and inflation, grower returns with this upmarket are beneficial to us all. In a few weeks after harvest, we will take inventory and will recap what is truly put away in storage and what is left for our fine customer usage for the rest of the season.”
Steve Baker with Baker & Murakami Produce in Ontario, OR, reported in on Sept. 15 to say, “Demand is very good this week on all colors and most sizes. Colossals and especially super colossals are very tight and at times nonexistent.” Steve continued, “The market has come up from last week’s pricing on the onions that are jumbo sizes and larger.” And, he said, “Quality has been good.” He added, “When it comes to transportation, same story different week. It’s a struggle every week!”
Jason Pearson with Eagle Eye Produce reported from his Nyssa, OR sales office on September 15 and told us that demand from both of Eagle Eye’s Northwest areas has been excellent this week. “We are moving a lot of medium yellows because that is what we have the most of right now,” Jason said. “There is high demand for jumbo yellows and colossals too. Supers are also in great demand, but they are very limited. Demand for reds is good, but we haven’t seen white demand pick up.” He added, “Our quality is very good. So with that good quality and the current demand, the market is slowly climbing. It’s very encouraging too because we aren’t getting any push back. Buyers are still buying so we need to keep the market increase moving.” On transportation, Jason said, “We can get the trucks. Everyone just needs to remember they are going to have to pay for them.”
Many thanks to Tiffany Cruickshank with Snake River Produce Company in Nyssa, OR for sending in this beautiful yellow onion field shot this week.
Washington/Columbia Basin, OR, and Peru
Dan Borer with Keystone Fruit Marketing in Walla Walla, WA, said on Sept. 15 that his company is selling its trademark Peruvian Maya Sweets on the East Coast. “Movement of Mayan Sweets is getting started on the East Coast and demand and pricing are very good,” he said, and he added, “Like most commodities coming to the west, right now we are still working on bringing the product into the West Coast and dealing with labor and port issues.” Regarding Northwest onions, Dan said harvest is about two weeks ahead of schedule. “We’ve had good harvest weather and everything has been going well for our growers, so we’re ahead of schedule on harvest,” he said. “Demand is above average for this time of year too. Some of it may be due to short supplies and lack of labor on production, but good demand has helped the market and we have a good strong market right now. All in all, things are going well. No complaints here.”
Colorado Western Slope/Utah:
Don Ed Holmes with The Onion House in Weslaco, TX, told us on Sept. 15 that it’s “all good” with the Colorado Western Slope and his Corinne, UT, deal. “Utah is putting onions in windrows,” he said. “And Colorado just finished corn, so our onion availability will increase.” He emphasized, “We have excellent size!! The market is good for all sizes and colors.”
Colorado Western Slope:
David DeBerry with Southwest Onions in McAllen, TX, said on Sept. 15 the Western Slope deal is doing great. “Demand exceeds supplies,” he said. “Quality is very good – everything is really, really good with all three colors. Movement is great, and sizing is 90 percent jumbo and larger on all colors. We’re loading storages, and we anticipate a seamless transition between fresh and storage.” He said transportation has been “very reasonable.”
Robert Bell with Western Onion in Camarillo, CA, provided us with an interesting look at European onion conditions in the Sept. 14 issue of Market Weekly. Summarized, the report said that Germany’s onion harvest “remains delayed” and there is “no uniform picture” with varied yields and sizes. Prices had fallen there. In the Netherlands, the price trend was “firmer.” Austria’s harvest was progressing rapidly, and domestic demand was termed “satisfactory.” France was experiencing “very changeable weather conditions” during harvest, and “onion calibers will be smaller,” the report said. Poland ‘s prices were increasing “due to temporarily tighter supply.” The UK had seen “a burst of high temperatures and clear skies” which was seen as improving the drilled crop. Russia had increased its supply of onions, but demand was called “quiet” and prices “weaker.” The Ukraine harvest was in full swing.