Michelle Gurda at A. Gurda Produce in Pine Island, NY, told us fall is in the New York air, and onion demand is “at a steady pace.” “Demand right now is fair, not too overwhelming,” she said, noting the pace extends across all colors and sizes. Gurda is shipping both its conventional and organic onions, and Michelle said, “Quality is good. The market right now is steady, and nothing is dipping or increasing at this moment.” But she noted that midseason exports could bring a price change in the market.
Doug Bulgrin at Gumz Farms LLC in Endeavor reported things are currently going well for the company. “We have had some really nice days for harvest lately and it is forecasted that the good harvest weather should continue for at least five more days or so,” he said. Doug also said harvest is at the halfway point, and crews are working long hours to finish. “The first frost is a ways off so we feel good about where we are,” he said. He added that the market has been better for this time of year than average. Gumz has all sizes available in yellows and reds, he said.
COLORADO – Front Range:
Ryan Fagerberg at Fagerberg Produce/Fagerberg Farms in Eaton, CO, reported on Sept. 26, “As of 10 days ago, we are fully transitioned into our direct seeded crop.” Ryan said, “We will be done harvesting in the next two weeks and I am encouraged by the nice mix of both medium and jumbos in all colors. Quality seems solid and I anticipate a smooth storage season.”
Jessica Peri at Peri and Sons in Yerington told us, “We are so busy with harvest and packing is in full swing. We have two packing facilities in Nevada, and we are utilizing our Firebaugh (CA) facility this year as well, hauling Nevada onions over the hill. Yields and quality are excellent this season.” Jessica added, “The demand for our Sweetie Sweets is through the roof. More and more customers are realizing the consumer wants to buy domestic when available instead of a Peruvian import.” She said Peri has several weeks remaining until the onions will be under roof, and harvest will be wrapped up in about a week. As for market conditions, Jessica said domestic business is picking up, but she said, “Unfortunately the exchange rate peso/ USD is inhibiting movement to Mexico.” Overall, she said, “The market is a bit weak, and hopefully it will stabilize once all shippers have the onions in the barn.”
Dan Phillips at Central Produce in Payette, ID, said demand “seems to be holding this week.” He said Central is working to get all its onions in and has been slightly slowed up because of morning dew. Dan also said quality has been very good, and Central has all colors and all sizes readily available. He said, “Of course we all wish the market was higher, but with harvest nearing completion, everyone is doing what they can to push the onions out the door.” Dan also said that it’s still very early in the season and in about two to four weeks when harvest is completed the market should improve.
Chris Woo at Murakami Produce/Potandon in Ontario, OR, said that by the end of this week, Murakami expects to be close to 50 percent complete with storage harvest. Chris said, “With three more weeks of favorable weather we should be all in.” Regarding harvest, he said labor continues to be an issue, and Murakami is using its crew to pack half days and then sending the same crew to help with harvest. Chris said, “There are a lot of shippers in the valley who are using this structure. There is just not enough labor available to fill the need.” He said quality is excellent on this year’s crop. “Honestly, these are the best onions I have seen since I moved up from Los Angeles 40 years ago,” he said. He commented that the market is off but added, “Right now, our priority is harvest. We expect the market to straighten out, so we are trying to focus on harvesting this crop.” Woo also noted that the High Holidays of Rosh Hashanah on Oct. 3 and Yom Kippur Oct. 12 also have an impact on recent market trends.
Stefan Matheny, director of sales at River Point Farms in Hermiston told us that demand is fairly light this week. With growers at the tail end of harvest, Matheny said he has seen this happen in the past, and due to light demand the market is fairly flat. However, Stefan did note River Point is seeing more demand on mediums, and he reported the company has a steady supply of mediums currently and will have throughout the season. He also told OnionBusiness.com the quality of the storage onions coming in is very good with good skin sets.
John Vlahandreas at Wada Farms in Idaho Falls weighed in on the Northwest and reported demand this week has been “steady to above steady at times,” with yellows the front runner, followed by reds and then whites. John said Wada is pulling onions from Idaho, Oregon and Washington, and he said, “Quality has been outstanding at all of our sheds.” The market is also steady, and he said, “Delivered prices are up do to a recent surge in truck rates.”