CALIFORNIA (see Imperial Valley photos and video at the bottom of page):
Chris Woo at Potandon Produce/Murakami said demand is exceptional for onions coming out of the Imperial Valley, with solid pricing for packing shed and grower. “California has clear sailing now,” Woo told OnionBusiness.com. “That area is definitely in the driver’s seat, which is not common for this time of year.” He added that Imperial should ship through Memorial Day weekend. “After that the heat makes shipping from the area prohibitive,” Chris said.
Robert Bell of Western Onions told us that “harvest here in the Imperial Valley is in high gear, and everyone seems to be ramping up production trying to finish before Memorial Day.” Robert added, “The cooler-than-average temperatures have been very conducive to production. We will finish our organic yellow onion harvest on May 19 or 20, depending on the yield of our last field.” He said quality this week “is excellent, and the onions have finally dried completely and have set a very nice skin with good hardness for a short day onion. They should do great in storage for the next six weeks until the Kern County yellows are ready.” Robert said, “With Bakersfield starting up, it could and additional pressure for the growers here to finish in a timely manner which could increase supplies in the short term.”
TEXAS – Rio Grande Valley:
Don Ed Holmes at The Onion House in Weslaco said his operation shipped the last loads out of the Rio Grande Valley earlier this week. Recent rains did not significantly impact the end of the deal, he said.
Potandon Produce’s Chris Woo said the Idaho Falls, ID-based company is finished in the Rio Grande Valley as well, “which is normal for this time. We’re now moving up to the Winter Garden area.” Chris said, “South Texas has had very good pricing this year right from the get-go, and that did not deviate much throughout the season.”
TEXAS – Winter Garden:
David DeBerry of Southwest Onion Growers in McAllen said his company’s Winter Garden deal lost about half its acreage on the first day of harvest, April 29. “It was a darn shame,” David said. “We had a very nice crop, but we just didn’t get it all to market this year.” Southwest Onions offers the Sweet Sunrise variety for retail as well as onions produced specifically for both foodservice and retail markets. Describing the Quemado-Winter Garden area as geographically prone to weather events, he added that onions grow well in the valley, and “it’s a risk we take because it’s a beautiful farm that produces excellent quality.” The deal will clean up by the end of the month, David said.
Idaho Falls-based Potandon Produce is currently seeing lighter shipments coming up from Mexico through El Paso, according to Chris Woo.
Don Ed Holmes said The Onion House is seeing two or three loads of whites a day out of Chihuahua now, with “beautiful quality” reported. He said yellows and reds will start next week. “It’s not a real big deal, but it’s a good one,” Don Ed said.
Paul Reeping at G Farms in Litchfield Park reports the market this week is excellent. G Farms markets approximately 150,000 bags of yellows and 5,000 bags of reds, and this week Paul said pricing is at $12 on colossals, $11 on jumbos, $11 on mediums and $10 on pre-packs. G farms started its onion sales on May 5 and anticipates completing the Arizona deal on June. 5, he said.
IDAHO-E. OREGON and WASHINGTON:
Potandon Produce continues to ship out of cold storage, according to Chris Woo. He said neither area is a huge factor in the current onion deal, but Potandon is still shipping from those areas.
Demand is moderate and the market is stable, according to Chris Woo of Potandon Produce. The area received rain earlier in the week, which slowed harvest, but Chris said the harvest should be completed within a week. After that Potandon will start shipping out of cold storage for two to three more months until Peru comes in. Woo noted that this year’s Vidalia crop is said to be sweeter than ever.
Michelle Gurda at A. Gurda Produce in Pine Island weighed in on the just-ending 2015-16 shipping season. “We ended our season on May 1,” Michelle said. “It was a challenging season due to weather conditions earlier in the spring that prevented proper plant growth. Pricing was average, quality was good and production was fair.”
IMPERIAL VALLEY PHOTOS AND VIDEO provided courtesy of Robert Bell of Western Onion