Featured image: Fowler, CO white onion harvest, photo courtesy of Zach Mason with Zach Mason Farms
Rick Greener with Greener Produce provided his report on Sept. 6. “We are having a good easy going week,” Rick said. “Sales are going smoothly, and demand is cruising right along. Buyers are looking for the small retail stuff and colossals.” He added, “We are finishing up our shipments out of Cali, and we’ll be done there the end of this week or the first of next. We are shipping strong out of Washington and Oregon, and slowly things are picking up in Idaho. We’ll have onions available out of Michigan at the end of next week, and Colorado will be coming in at the end of next week too.” Rick said, “With good demand, and onions coming in the way they are, we are at a nice even pace, and the market seems to be steady and holding on solid ground. The new crop coming out of all areas has been nice and making good deliveries, and I want to add that the California deal was great all along with good quality right up here until the finish line.” Rick noted that freight is going OK. “Freight hasn’t been bad at all. We have been able to load flatbeds, and you’re going to pay more for reefers, but we can get them. All in all, it’s been a good week for onions.”
John Vlahandreas with Wada Farms in Salem, OR, told us on Sept. 6 that it’s been a pretty easygoing week so far. “As a team, we are selling out of Washington and Idaho-E. Oregon,” John said. “Demand has been steady, and now that everyone is past the major rainstorms, growers are getting onions in and looking at their yields, and things are looking good.” John continued, “Buyers have been looking for small stuff, and they need reds. The quality of the new crop has been good, and we haven’t experienced any issues. Out of the gate it didn’t seem like the yellows were yielding as well, but that situation is getting much better.” He noted, “On the market, things are rolling right along, and there isn’t anything too stressful out there. Truck availability is good, and prices aren’t too bad. For a short week, it’s been a good one. So we’ll get through this one and get ready for the next.”
Jason Pearson with Eagle Eye Produce in Nyssa, OR, told us on Sept. 6 that his team is running full steam out of the Eastern Oregon and Washington sheds. “Demand has been very good this week,” Jason said. “We are finished with our California shipments and running full steam out of both Northwest locations. Demand for all colors and sizes is good, but the hot ticket is for medium reds and then medium whites. We have good availability of both. Of course, we are taking care of our program business, but we do have some available to sell.” Jason went on to say, “Quality is looking very good, and as we get further into the crop, we are seeing more paper, and the yields look very good as well.” He continued, “The sizing is looking good, and as we get further into the harvest, sizing continues to improve. As we get close to the end of the month and into the first part of October, we’ll be able to see how the overall storage stuff is shaping up, but so far so good.” On the market, Jason said, it remains steady. “The market is holding steady right now, but with the summer deals cleaned up, there is definitely room for an increase, and there is no reason we can see for it to move downward.” Jason said freight is going well. “Trucks are readily available. Just be prepared to pay for them,” he said.
Dwayne Fisher with Champion Produce in Parma, ID, told us on Sept. 6, “The short week and more rain on Sunday have our team looking like bees: work, work, work, and adjust, adjust, adjust. The best laid plans change day to day around here this year.” Dwayne added, “The market has been active and steady this week. Today more demand from the East Coast has rolled in than we have experienced in a long time. Big stuff, reds, whites – really everything has moved great this week.” He continued, “A customer today asked if we were going to see any weakness in the market, and I replied these prices are weakness! We should only see strength once California comes off the market. It does feel like a base has been established, and the growers/our farms could certainly use some gravy.” About the new crop and storage, Dwayne said, “For us, we are at least 15 days away from storing anything permanently once we dry out enough to lift. We are hoping that the end of the week the lifters are running full steam ahead.” The weather, he said, “has been tricky this season, and I am not sure why it would be any different this fall. So we will go like crazy in the windows we get. Quality has been great, and skin retention won’t be a problem.”
Colorado Arkansas Valley:
Zach Mason with Zach Mason Farms in Fowler sent us some great photos from his harvest, which started this week. He said he has all three colors and started with whites, as shown in photos. Harvest will run into early October. Noting the brutal weather conditions this season has brought, Zach said, “The white onions we started the season with are so beautiful!” Our thanks for the great photos!
Cliff Riner with G&R Farms in Glennville, GA, told us on Sept. 4 that Hurricane Idalia didn’t affect that company’s Peru program to any great extent and also, thanks largely to timing, didn’t cause serious damage to the Vidalia growing region. “We are not too interrupted by Idalia,” he said. “Our Peruvian imports for the week were already delivered, so no interruption with the import program.” And, Cliff continued, “The Vidalia crop isn’t quite planted yet. However, most of the land designated for seedbeds is already prepared and fumigated. Our beds are okay and don’t have any erosion from the storm.” He went on to say, “I haven’t heard any negative impacts from other growers. The eye came directly over the middle of our production region, and it could have been disastrous if this was a few weeks later and seedbeds were planted. All I have seen or heard of is some pecan trees falling.” Cliff said, “I imagine that there will be a few Vidalia seedbeds planted this Labor Day week by other growers, but we plan to wait until next week and have a couple more sowings in later September.”
Paul Reeping with Riverfront Produce in Payette, ID, told us that Riverfront should start up on Friday, Sept. 8. “Weather permitting, we will start shipping on Friday,” he said. “If that doesn’t work out, we’ll get going on Monday, Sept. 11. We’ll start shipping yellows and add colors after.” Paul added, “We are behind on our shipping schedule, and customers are anxious to see us get started. We are happy with the wait though. We have been able to get some good size on the onions, and the quality we are seeing is excellent.”
Colorado Western Slope/Corinne, UT:
Don Ed Holmes with The Onion House in Weslaco, TX, told us on Sept. 6 that his Western Slope deal is expected to start the end of next week. The season will kick off with reds, followed shortly by yellows and whites. Don Ed also said the Corinne, UT, crop is “looking very good,” and that shipping season will start between Oct. 15-20.
David DeBerry with Southwest Onion Growers in McAllen, TX, said on Sept. 6 his Delta, CO, onion program will start next week. “We’ll have all colors, and everything looks great,” he said.