Growers anticipate strong fall markets - The Packer

Growers anticipate strong fall markets

08/17/2012 12:12:00 PM
Melissa Shipman

Demand looks to be good for Idaho and eastern Oregon onions this season, according to growers.

It’s still early, but growers and shippers expect a successful season because of high demand coming out of California and New Mexico.

“As we get closer to the (Idaho and eastern Oregon) onion season, the onion market is quite strong out of both California and New Mexico. Indications are that we will have a better than normal market as we begin this packing season,” Ken Stewart, sales and operations manager for L&M Companies, Inc., Raleigh, N.C., said in an e-mail.

Troy Seward, president and owner of Golden West Produce, Nyssa, Ore., agrees.

“Growers in the summer period have enjoyed a profitable market and have set the stage for Idaho and eastern Oregon to come into a strong deal,” he said. “Demand is good and seems to be stronger than last season, at least at this point.”

Stewart, who works out of Rocky Ford, Colo., says he expects a normal harvest for this year.

“We should have product available for market by the middle of August and look forward to another good season,” he said.

Kay Riley, general manager/sales for Snake River Produce, Nyssa, Ore., says he is optimistic about the new season as well.

“There looks to be a good demand for exports too, and we just hope the good market carries over into next season,” he said.

Riley credits the higher demand, especially for export, to a higher supply of onions over the past couple of seasons.

“I think there was an international glut of onions, so to speak, for the past 18 months or so,” he said. “It reflects a long period of very poor prices, and some people just cut back.”

As with any product, the ebb and flow of demand has brought the Treasure Valley into a season of higher demand and slightly lower supply.

Of course, the weather is a factor as well, but not as much of an issue for growers in the Northwest.

“Northwest weather isn’t normally a factor. It’s not a total make or break it, but it’s still some of the reason,” Riley said.

Several growers agree, saying they expect lower quantities this year.

“While we have not started our season as of this time, we are predicting a slightly smaller crop this year,” Bob Komoto, general manager of Ontario Produce Co., Ontario, Ore., said in an e-mail.

Komoto also agrees demand seems strong as the season gets ready to begin.

“The market appears to have been strong all summer and hopefully that can carry into the fall,” he said.

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