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Early, good-quality crop for Central Produce

Like many other Treasure Valley onion operations, Central Produce Distributors in Payette, ID, saw an early start to the 2018 season, and General Manager Ray Burzota said in late August the company was “real busy and packing hard” as it shipped yellows, reds and whites.

central-produce-Central Produce Distributors’ crew shows off the company’s labels. Pictured are Ray Burzota, Austin Wagstaff, Dan Phillips, Dan Conklin and Oscar Nuñez. Burzota said, “The growing season turned out pretty good, and we were about two weeks ahead of last year. The crop has good size, with plenty of colossals and lots of jumbos. We haven’t had an abundance of mediums, and for the most part our volume will be jumbos and colossals.”

Pricing was at about $6 for jumbos in late August, and demand was very good, he said of the new crop onions.

The early crop loads were expected to be wrapped up as September progressed, and Burzota said, “We will be heavily into storage by Sept. 15.”

Commenting on transportation during the season’s first several weeks, Burzota said, “So far it’s OK, but we know finding trucks as the season progresses will be harder. For now we’re fine and have shipped a couple of rail cars. This might be the earliest we’ve shipped rail, and we’re cautiously optimistic we’ll have adequate rail [as the season continues].”

Central is using its new storage facility, and Burzota said next season will see the packing line shed and reconfigured line up and running.

In a broader context, Burzota tackled the issue of trade talks, calling the discussions a positive step.

“Any attempt to renegotiate is good,” he said. “Just addressing the issue is good, but I don’t know what to expect for onions in the NAFTA talks.”