Featured image: New York onion harvest, courtesy of Rick Minkus with Minkus Family Farms in New Hampton
California Central Valley:
Robert Bell with Western Onion in Camarillo told us on Sept. 29 he had finished harvest in Cuyama on Tuesday, Sept. 28. He said he was moving equipment back to Camarillo on Wednesday, and he added, “Happy to be done and looking forward to seeing colleagues at the NOA in Puerto Rico!” Robert also provided us with a shot of his retriever trailer with a Newhouse onion topper.
Idaho-E. Oregon /Washington:
Jason Pearson with Eagle Eye Produce in Nyssa, OR, told us on Sept. 29 that demand remains steady. “Demand is steady and has been for weeks,” he said. “Buyers are first and foremost looking for reds, then yellows and then whites. Size-wise, jumbos are in the hottest demand right now. I have to say the market is pushing upward, and we aren’t getting any ‘push back’ – buyers are still buying. That’s a real positive sign.” Jason continued, “Our quality is very good, and we are starting to put product in the barn. We have about another week to a week and a half left on harvest, if Mother Nature cooperates.” And, he said, “This time of year we are working hard to cover everything we need to do to get through harvest and cover everything we need to do in production, and it’s tough with the shortage of labor, but we’ll get through it.” When asked about transportation, Jason said, “It’s terrible as always. That’s all I can say.”
Herb Haun with Haun Packing in Weiser, ID, told us on Sept. 29 his growers are approximately 70 percent through harvest. “We would be done Oct. 7-8,” Herb said. He added, “We have a few later fields with near average size of jumbos and near average yields.” Herb said quality of the 2021 onions remains good with lighter yields and smaller overall size, but he said, “Transportation remains a challenge, and labor is also a challenge.” The company is running all three colors to a “good mix” of retail and foodservice, with Herb saying, “We’re fairly limited now on reds and whites, and we’re heavy to mediums.”
Steve Baker with Baker & Murakami Produce in Ontario, OR, said on Sept. 29, “Demand has been good this week. Super colossals and colossals are still elusive and in high demand.” He continued, “The market is strong right now on Jumbo sizes and larger. The pricing on the medium yellows is lagging well below the jumbo price.” And, Steve said, “Quality has been very good!” He noted that transportation is “adequate for the offerings available.”
Our thanks to Tiffany Cruickshank and Snake River Produce in Nyssa, OR, for the great shots of 2021 onions. Beautiful!
Don Ed Holmes with the Onion House in Weslaco, TX, said on Sept. 29 both Colorado and Utah deals are in good shape. “Colorado is almost finished on intermediate onions and started to store long day,” he said. “Utah is 60 percent in and should be all in next week and start to ship Oct. 15. It’s all good.”
David DeBerry with Southwest Onion Growers in McAllen, TX, told us on Sept. 29 the Western Colorado deal is going well. “The market is good, and the demand is good,” he said. “There’s really no change, and I don’t see anything changing for a while.” David continued, “We will finish intermediates next week and then roll right into storage.” The season will run into late December or early January, he said.
Robert “R.T.” Sakata with Sakata Farms in Brighton reported om Sept. 29 harvest was finishing that day. “Our last loads are coming in within the hour,” he said, adding, “We’re very lucky because we’re supposed to be getting some rain later on today.” R.T. said harvest started the first week of September, and though it’s taken a bit longer than normal, results look good. “Size is a little smaller than normal,” he said of the onions. “They’re trending to mediums and jumbos,” he said. “Quality is good. We will have fewer reds this year but our usual volume of whites and yellows.” Grading will start next week, he said. The majority of the company’s business stays local/regional, and R.T. said transportation is less of an issue because most of the buyers send their own trucks. Additionally, he said, “Brighton has a good transportation situation because Denver is a big receiving area.”
Rick Minkus with Minkus Family Farms in New Hampton told us on Sept. 29 that harvest is going well despite the sporadic rains they have received. “We have about 100 acres left to harvest,” Rick said. “We would like to be done, but it should take about another 10 days.” He added, “We have had rain, so the dew sticks around, and when we get into the fields, it’s about noon. We have to quit about 6 p.m., but we’re used to it – that’s New York.” Rick continued, “Last year we had drought conditions, so our yields were off. This year things are looking better. Yields are normal, and quality is good.” He noted that demand is good this week. “Jumbo demand is very good, and pricing is good for everything but medium yellows,” he said. “Canada has really put the pressure on. We have our regular customers, but on the market it’s really tough to compete. Plus, there is an abundance of mediums out there.” He added, “Transportation continues to be a hassle, but we do have a freight advantage being in New York. The labor shortage doesn’t help, but we’re in it for the long haul.” And, Rick laughed, “We just wish we could haul longer.” Many thanks to Rick for the awesome snaps he sent this week… Blue sky, black dirt, and beautiful onions!
Texas Rio Grande Valley/Mexico:
Don Ed Holmes with The Onion House in Weslaco said on Sept. 29, “We’ll start planting in Texas next week, and we’re 30 percent planted in the Tampico, MX, area. All good.”
Robert Bell with Western Onion in Camarillo, CA, shared an update on the Pukekohe, Auckland, crop that comes from the NZ grower. The grower said the country is in COVID lockdown, with Auckland in level 3 (less restricted) and the rest of the nation level 2. The grower said the region had received good rains and was experiencing warm temperatures, “all making for a good growing season.” Our thanks for the photo Robert forwarded, which is of ELK, or early long keepers. Robert said there were also PLK, or Pukekohe long keeper storage onions, planted as well.