Featured image: yellow onions on Skeen Farms’ field near Nyssa, OR. Part of this week’s featured video.
Doug Bulgrin with Gumz Farms in Endeavor provided his report on Sept. 20. “We are shipping full steam, and movement is above normal,” he said. “We have good size profiles on reds and yellows: shipping mediums and jumbos in both colors. With the red market looking good, we are happy we have plenty of supplies. Quality also looks excellent this season.” He added, “We are into our storage harvest, getting the onions in the barn, and we’ve enjoyed the dry harvest weather. Everything is going well, and our customers are excited to see us get going on the season.”
Rick Greener with Greener Produce provided his report on Sept. 20. “We are cruisin’ right along this week,” Rick said. “It’s mid-September, so sales are good, but nothing off the charts. Buyers are looking for the small retail stuff and colossals, which is pretty much the same as it has been for a while now.” He added, “We are just about finished up with our shipments out of Cali, but most of the onions are coming out of Idaho, Oregon, Washington, and Utah. Michigan is beginning to trickle in with pre-commitments. We should have more availability next week. Looks like Idaho is getting up to speed and is going full steam.” Rick said, “The market seems to be steady with a few clean-up spot buys out there. Reds and whites are doing well. With medium reds tight, I really don’t understand why prices aren’t higher.” Rick noted that freight’s good. “We’re still loading flatbeds and we haven’t had a hard time finding trucks, so we’re in good shape.”
John Vlahandreas with Wada Farms in Salem, OR, told us on Sept. 20 that demand’s been decent this week. “We’re selling out of Washington and Idaho-E. Oregon,” John said. “Export demand is good. Other than that, it seems we’re filling in the holes this week. It’s September so demand for this time of year is pretty typical.” John continued, “Growers are full into harvest and they are focusing on that, which they should be. It’s getting colder in the mornings so they lose a couple hours of daylight waiting for the dew to come off and they can get into the fields mid-morning. It makes for a long day.” He noted, “On the market, it seems that buyers are beating it down, and shippers are trying to hold it up, and we’re trying to meet somewhere in the middle where everyone can be happy. We might see a good market for reds this year, particularly medium reds. Last year, reds didn’t kill it price-wise, so growers may not have planted as many and there may be fewer available. We’ll want to watch that.” On quality, John said it’s very good. “I know I keep saying it, but honestly, we have been very fortunate to be shipping good quality onions with no real issues. We’ll see how storage shakes out, but I have to hand to these growers and shippers we work with. Quality has been great!” John also noted, “Truck availability is good,” he said. “We don’t have any problem getting trucks, but I have to say, I get way too many brokers calling me.”
Jason Pearson with Eagle Eye Produce in Nyssa, OR, told us on Sept. 20 that his team is working hard to get their storage onions in the barn. “It’s September, so we tend to see demand slow up a bit,” Jason said. “We are plenty busy, but demand is typical for this time of year.” Jason went on to say, “Quality has been unbelievably good. We have been so pleased with how this season’s crop looks.” On the market, Jason said, it is seeing some decline. “The market is slowly declining, which is so unnecessary. If everyone wouldn’t blow everything out, relax, and focus on harvest, we’d be in much better shape.” Jason added, “Freight has gotten a little expensive, but flatbeds can still be loaded for some areas, and we don’t have a problem getting trucks.”
Dan Borer with Keystone Fruit Marketing reported in from his Walla Walla sales office this week. “Movement has been good for the Northwest,” he said. “Harvest is going well, and our growers anticipate wrapping it up by the first week in October.” He continued, “We were fortunate this year and got in early. With good harvest weather, things are running smoothly for us.” He continued, “Quality looks good so far, and of course, you don’t fully know about yields until everything is in the barn.” On the market, Dan said, it’s steady. “Coming off a good summer market, the current pricing looks to be steady at a typical pre-COVID market.” Dan noted that Peru is marching along at a good, steady pace. “Our Mayan Sweet movement and pricing is good,” he said. “Due to weather issues in Peru, it looks like yields may be down due to smaller sizing, but we are happy with quality, and the season is shaping up nicely.”
Chris Woo also provided an update on Treasure Valley. “Onion harvest in full swing. Growers have had plenty of time to cure and dry their onions out in the fields, relying on the goodness of Mother Nature,” Chris said. “Fall weather has been ideal, with dry warm daytime temps still wearing short pants for an Indian summer, and at night its sweater weather. Onion bulbs being presently picked up look to have decent tonnage being on the larger size, hard and firm with excellent color and skin.”
David DeBerry with Southwest Onion Growers in McAllen, TX, told us on Sept. 19 his Western Slope growers expect to start shipping either late this week or next Monday, Sept. 25. The season will kick off with all colors and sizes from Ahlberg Family Farms in Delta, and those shipments will 30-45 days, straight into the Brent & Regina Hines Farms crop. David said the Hines volume will run through the end of the year, possibly going into January.
Don Ed Holmes with The Onion House in Weslaco, said on Sept. 19 that John Harold, his Olathe grower expects to shipping his onions next week, starting with reds and adding yellows and whites added soon after.