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Despite harvest delays, Walla Walla volume should be normal

Producers of Walla Walla sweet onions are expected to begin their harvest a week to 10 days behind typical timetables. Mike Locati, chairman of the Walla Walla Sweet Onion Marketing Committee, said cold weather was the culprit.

"We had some issues in December [with the fall planted crop]," he told The Produce News. Transplants and direct-seeded onions are faring well, and Locati said temperatures were warming up in the Walla sdfaeMike LocatiWalla River Valley during April.

Walla Wallas are grown on 600 acres in the growing district. "Our volume should be normal," he stated. Typically, 1,000 40-pound units are produced per acre. "I'm optimistic we'll get close to that," he added.

The harvest will ramp up toward the end of June and run through mid-August. "It's a little early to tell about sizing," he stated, but he expects adequate supplies of jumbos this season. "Maybe not as many colossal."

Locati said growers are hoping for that perfect production trifecta in 2014: a good crop, good demand and "hopefully the pricing will be nice."