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Shortage of super sized sweet onions in the Northwest

The Northwest sweet onion season is approaching the midway point and growers say the season is continuing steadily. Yields are on the light side and there is a shortage of jumbo sized onions, with last year's winter to blame. Growers were unable to plant until later than usual, and as a result, supplies of larger sizes are limited.

"The season is going well and the market is holding," said Berenise Gomeza, of Riverfront Produce in Idaho. "We usually have more volume but this season we are short on yields. Product looks good but sizing has been one of the issues this year, with not as many of the super sized onions available because of the weather. Eastern Oregon, Idaho and parts of Washington were the most affected by the extended winter weather last year. We started planting much later than we typically do which shortened the growing season."

"Pricing is holding steady," she added. "Jumbos are seeing a steady market price of between $8.50 and $9.50."

Transport an issue
The truck shortage that is affecting many parts of the United States extends also to the inner Northwest, where growers are having trouble shipping their product out. Gomeza said that if it wasn't for having contacts in the trucking industry, many growers would have a lot of trouble shipping out their product.

"Trucking and shipping have been tough," she said. "It has affected many growers in Idaho and the greater region. We are only managing to get our product out because we have contacts in the trucking industry. It's a similar story for many growers."

Retail packs give more options
Riverfront Produce have decided to expand their options for business by broadening their packaging offerings. Rather than solely concentrate on wholesale, the company have acquired a packing line which enables them to provide smaller, retail sized packages of onions.

"One of our recent milestones was the installation of a new packing line," Gomeza said. "We have been trying to get more retail business and the new line enables us to pack our onions in smaller, 5lb bags, as opposed to our larger sizes for wholesale. We are continuing to find ways in which to expand options to sell our onions."

For more information:
Berenise Gomeza
Riverfront Produce Company
Tel: +1 (208) 642-6864

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