Owyhee Produce's Shay Myers Talks Onion Harvest Amidst Colder Climes

Fri. November 8th, 2019 - by Kayla Webb

NYSSA, OR - While the average person may rely on the convenience of their weather app to determine the day’s climate, I prefer scrolling through my social media feeds and seeing the snow flurries, storm clouds, and sunshine in the backgrounds of my friends’ posts. Lately, my friends in the Pacific Northwest have been bundled up under November’s rainy skies, with Owyhee Produce being no exception.

I chatted with Shay Myers, General Manager, to find out how Owyhee Produce’s onions have been faring in the colder climes this season.

Shay Myers, General Manager, Owyhee Produce“Harvest is completed, and we are packing our storage crop of onions,” Shay began. “It was a challenging harvest this season for a few reasons: a late start date, rains, and early freezes. On our farm, around 10 percent of the crop has had potential freeze damage. Fortunately, our new optical grader has assisted in helping us maintain our high-quality standards while minimizing the shrink from the frozen crop, with most of these onions graded and run across our sorting line. Other than that, quality looks excellent. We are looking forward to having good quality through the duration of our season as we continue to pack from our bulk storages all the way till May.”

Owyhee maintains their onion quality through their new optical grader that helps to minimize shrinking in the freezing weather

In terms of volume, Shay forecasted average volume this year, as a result of Mother Nature freezing that extra 10 percent of crop late in the harvest. Despite this minor setback, the Owyhee Produce team is expecting to turn its onions into onionade (…like lemons/lemonade) with the promotable volumes it does have.

“We will see tighter supplies as a result of the freeze somewhere down the line. As far as seeing any spikes or dips in demand currently, it’s just the normal status quo, although our onions are generally consumed at a higher-level during November, December, and even January,” Shay shard with me.

As demand begins to ramp up around the winter holidays, Shay pointed to Owyhee Produce’s new palletizer and bagging system—which will be installed within the next couple of weeks—as well as its new growing fields in California as a way of keeping up with voracious consumer demand.

“We are excited to be California onion growers! We are just getting started planting this week. This will close the loop in our supply system to be able to take care of our customers the same way that we do during the 10 months of the year when we are running our Idaho packing facility,” Shay explained. “We are hoping the outcome of this new expansion and partnership in California will add value to the customers we serve with a true year-round onion program.”

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Owyhee Produce