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Onion packing is underway for Central Produce Distributors

Central Produce Distributors, headquartered in Payette, ID, entered its second week packing onions in early September. “We’re a little behind,” General Manager Ray Burzota told The Produce News on Sept. 8.

He said that conditions were cool during the spring, but onions bounced back in July and August when temperatures began to climb.

The company works with 10 growers in the Treasure Valley that produce the Vaquero, Pandero and Granero onion varieties.

Yellows comprise 85 percent of the company’s overall pack. Reds account for 10 percent of the manifest, and whites round out the balance.

According to Mr. Burzota, planted acreage decreased slightly this season due to crop rotation. Although he expects that overall volume will be down approximately 10 percent owing to impacts from weather, he said that onion quality looks good. “So far, it’s been decent,” he stated.

Heavier production was expected to begin around Sept. 22. “We’ll have storage-ready onions then,” he stated. The marketing season will continue through March.

“Ray’s Gold” is the company’s primary label. Mr. Burzota said that Central Produce also could do private labeling and packing at customer request. “This year, we are doing more consumer packs and cartons,” he went on to say.

The company’s heaviest markets can be found east of Colorado, with the largest volume sold east of the Mississippi River to major metropolitan areas. Business along the West Coast and in the Los Angeles area continues to grow.