With the new-crop onion season on track for a mid-June start with Walla Walla Sweets, Bill (Sweet Willie) Brownfield, sales manager for Sweet Clover Produce in Walla Walla, WA, said supplies of the trademarked sweets are expected to be steady through the end of August.
“Growing conditions have been excellent,” Brownfield said in late April. “Stands look very good, and we anticipate the crop will come off mid-June.”
This season Sweet Clover will ship Walla Walla Sweets under both the “Sweet Clover” and “Gloria” labels, he said. Primary growers are the father-son team of Fernando Enriquez Sr. and Jr.
Brownfield, whose son, Pat, works sales and transportation at the Walla Walla office, will be contributing to the Walla Walla Sweets volume this year with his own fields, Bill Brownfield said.
“It’s a father-son business affair,” he said of the Brownfield and Enriquez collaboration.
Sweet Clover works with other Walla Walla growers as well, he said, noting that all the trademarked onions are grown inside the designated growing area established by Federal Marketing Order 956.
In addition to the Walla Walla Sweets — which are Washington’s state vegetable through proclamation of Gov. Christine Gregoire — Sweet Clover will start shipping its Northwest organic, reds, yellows and sweet yellows along with its reds and whites in mid-July.
“Supplies are expected to be excellent through April 2015,” Brownfield said of the storage onions.
Sweet Clover is known for its Red Wing single-center reds grown by Grigg & Sons in Quincy, WA, and that variety will also begin shipping in mid-July, he said.
With two main shipping facilities and a “family” of onion growers in the Northwest, Sweet Clover is a vertically integrated grower, shipper and marketer of organics, sweets and hybrids. The operation has established a year-round sweet onion program that includes product sourced from other growing areas.
In recent years, Sweet Clover has worked to increase production, and 2014 will see more Walla Wallas as well as other Northwest varieties packed in the company’s popular Carry-Fresh consumer bags and “all consumer packs,” Brownfield said. Labels include “Columbia Pride,” “Quincy Queen,” “Basin Best,” “Big Bend Country” and “White Tigers” in addition to “Sweet Clover” and “Gloria.”