Walla Walla Sweet Onions Pt 1

Walla Walla Sweet Onions Pt 1

Bob Larson
Bob Larson
I’m Bob Larson. The dry drought conditions were bad enough, but then record-breaking high temps moved in for about a week, which forced some creative thinking for Walla Walla Sweet Onion harvest.

One way to beat the heat, according to Mike Locati, grower and Chair of the Walla Walla Sweet Onion Marketing Committee, was clocking in before the typical 4:30 or 5:00 start …

LOCATI … “And that’s kind of normal, that 4:30-5:00 o’clock that’s somewhat normal in, you know, average year, but when it gets to record-breaking heat. You know, I think we had 120, someone said, the other day. And so, yeah, the crews they’d rather get out there earlier and we’d rather be done earlier. So yeah, it’s the first year I think we’ve ever started at 2:00, but hopefully it cools down.”

And the drought, Locati says pushed up harvest season a little bit …

LOCATI … “Well, you know, I mean if you start back in the spring time, we didn’t have a lot of rain and so it brought the crop on earlier which did help for us to get a good start. You know, we got started around the 4th instead of normally we start on like the 10th or the 14th. So, we are you know 7 to 10 days earlier.”

And, Locati says the heat has ripened the onions faster than normal …

LOCATI … “You’ve got 50 acres worth of onions ready, but you only really have sales for like 7 acres like right now. And so, that’s what’s been tough. So, we’ve got a lot of onions that are really ready to go, that need to be harvested, but we don’t have all the demand for them right now.”

Tune in tomorrow for more on the heat impact for Walla Walla Sweet Onions.

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