“Our crop is virtually all harvested and I would say there’s about a 20 per cent reduction from last year,” says Kay Riley of Nyssa, Ore.-based Snake River Produce. “Last year was an exceptionally good crop. I would say this year it’s below average.”
The drop in supply is attributed to a few weather-related factors including a snowy winter which saw the snow stick around for awhile and then was followed by a wet, cold spring. “So we had to plant later which was definitely a contributing factor,” says Riley. “And it stayed cold and rainy throughout the first part of June and then it turned mainly hot for the rest of the summer. So it was the combination of all of that that resulted in a lighter than normal crop with a smaller than normal yield.” Riley adds that the onions are also smaller than normal.
That said, Snake River, which is in the process of expanding its storage and a packing shed, which should be ready in three months time, is seeing positive pricing.
“To have the market strengthen and increase during harvest time is unusual,” Riley says. “Yellows are selling around $10/FOB today and I think last year at this time we’re at about $5-5.5 range. And that pricing is across all varieties—reds have been high priced as well with $10/FOB on a jumbo and whites have been $15-$20 which is exceptionally good.” This despite a bit of a lull in demand at the moment.
As for pick up going into the holiday season, Riley notes that most of its clients are on the foodservice side so that increase in demand will likely bear out if it’s a strong holiday shopping season.
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Snake River Produce