At the beginning of 2012, Green Tree International will enter its fourth year as a distributor and broker of onions from the Pacific Northwest. Sales Associate Shea Nanto spoke to The Produce News from his office in Wenatchee, WA on Aug. 3.
“We’re getting excited to go full bore,” he said of coming activity.
The company has co-packing agreements in place and sources red, yellow and white onions from Washington, Oregon and Idaho.
“We follow onions year-round,” Mr. Santo said. Onions from the Pacific Northwest are moved eight to nine months out of the year.
In addition to storage onions, Green Tree offers its customers a variety of sweet onions including Walla Walla Sweet Onions and Hermiston Sweets. “We are seasonal on sweets,” Mr. Santo said of the company’s line.
Green Tree works with approximately 12 growers. Mr. Santo was asked how the 2011 season has been going.
“Normally, we would have started our direct-seeded onions by now,” he replied, saying that the harvest typically starts in July. This season, the harvest was expected to have begun around Aug. 5. Harvesting activity will continue into October this season, Mr. Santo said.
“If there are no super cold snaps or rain, everything will be fine,” he continued. Mr. Santo said that he is anticipating that yields will be similar to those of to the 2010 season.
“We can provide all sizes to our customer base,” he went on to say.
In addition to the “Green Tree” label, the company distributes product under labels already in place for its growers.
According to Mr. Santo, demand for onions continues to increase, and Green Tree’s customers are increasingly interested in seeing onions packed at the grower level.
Onions are sold to all market sectors. In addition to its domestic customers, Green Tree exports approximately 30 percent of its volume. Export sales are handled to ensure the best possible return to growers, he said.