Owyhee Produce's Shay Myers Talks Onion Harvest and Award-Winning Mint Oil

Thu. August 18th, 2016 - by Laura Hillen

NYSSA, OR - With year-round production and a fully-integrated stem of operations, Owyhee Produce is stepping up its consumer strategies in the onion segment with a few surprises along the way. I recently took some time to speak with Shay Myers, General Manager, about the company’s offerings and recent PMA Foodservice win.

Shay Myers, General Manager, Owyhee Produce“Right now we’re transitioning our onion harvest from the San Joaquin Valley in California to the Treasure Valley region in Idaho and Oregon,” Shay says of the company’s year-round offerings. “We started harvesting in this region on July 18, and packing on the 25th [of July].”

Out of the eastern Oregon region, Owyhee is currently shipping Spanish Medallion and Ranchero varieties. Shay says that retailers can also take advantage of its domestic sweet onions from the Northwest, which are available now through mid-to-early winter with excellent quality. Owyhee Produce, is a third-generation company with its parent company Froerer Farms. Froerer Farms was first founded in 1954 by Shay’s grandfather.

“We’re a ‘dirt to dock’ operation, which means we do everything from planting, to packaging, to sales and marketing, and logistics,” Shay explains as to what makes this multi-generational operation unique. “This gives us the unique opportunity to really control every aspect of the operation, pay particular attention to the varieties we offer and our harvest dates, and keeps us customer driven.”

These unique outlooks are also represented in a weekly market update which Shay sends out to the company’s buyer partners. The update contains relevant information on the market, such as whether to buy ahead or bide their time, supply chain tips, and also gives information on market trends or changes.

“We also offer the market outlook, which is a 30,000-foot-view of what’s happening the marketplace,” Shay expands. “It gives what we think the outlook on pricing will be over the next two to four weeks, and sometimes even further, to offer our buyers an advantage.”

So what’s next for the company? For those of us who attended PMA Foodservice, we already know the answer; mint oil.

The company recently launched the product at the event in Monterey, which helped them come away the 2016 Best in Show winner at the event. The oil boasts a clean taste with potent packing.

“Our oil is specifically used for flavors, like in your favorite mojito or flavored drink. We’re currently selling it in 0.5 and 1 oz. bottles. In the 1 oz. bottle, you can get 4,000-5,000 servings out of it,” Shay says of the company’s newest endeavor. “We’re currently focusing on expanding the opportunities here as well.”

Shay says that the company currently offers three varieties of the oil, with a fourth on the way. The oil is 100 percent pure, with no carriers or alcohol dilutions.

With the Owyhee team continuing to focus on consumer and retail trends, and offering innovative solutions and products to match, AndNowUKnow will have its eyes on where this event winner is headed next.

Owyhee Produce