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Onion Expert

Why are there so few Mediums and so many Colossals?

Shay Myers - Sunday, December 11, 2016

For those of you on the buying desk, I imagine at least a few have you have wondered the reason behind the large amounts of Colossal and larger onions this year. There are, as you might expect, a few reasons for this.


I should explain what we do to create our desired size profile in the field. It's pretty simple; we plant onions closer together or farther apart depending on the size of onions we want to grow. The closer together the onions, the smaller. The farther apart, the larger. You can think of it like a litter of puppies all fighting to get something to eat, if there are more dogs than there is food, you end up with overall smaller pups and and a runt here and there. If the litter is small, you end up with a few really fat puppies. Onions are no different. They are competing for the nutrients from the soil, just like the puppies do for milk.





This crop wasn't planted farther apart though, it was Mother Nature who came in and created all that space. Wet, windy, and cold weather early in the onion's lives killed about 10% more than what most of us planned for. These dead onions made more space. Normally more space would mean larger onions, but mother nature followed up the wet, windy, and cold weather with almost perfect growing conditions for the remainder of the season. So not only did our onions have more nutrients available to them in the soil, but they also had warm days and especially warm nights that kept them growing. The end result, yields that were 10-15 higher than normal with stand counts that were about that much lower than normal. Mother Nature is Awesome!

Owyhee Produce Releases Sweet Onions!

Ashley Narvaiz - Friday, December 02, 2016

Owyhee Produce is proud to officially introduce its Sweet Onions to the open market. It’s taken three years to perfect the process, and now they are proud to offer two different varieties. 

To call an onion a “sweet,” it has to meet the right levels of sugar content and pungency. A regular yellow onion on the pyruvic scale of acidity or pungency sits around a 7 or 8. To be called a sweet it has to hit under a 4, with a super sweet being under a 2. Owhyee’s sweets sit between a 3 and 4.

The United States imports the majority of their sweet onions from Chile and Peru; a trip that spans 7-8,000 miles. Owyhee’s sweets are grown in US soil, by a third-generation family farm that employs dirt to dock safety regulations, and is involved in every step of the growing, packing, and shipping process. Owyhee’s sweets cost less and come with a much smaller carbon footprint.

Owyhee Produce’s Sweet Onions are available now until February and come in 40 lb. cartons or a range of 2-10lb consumer packs. Their sweet, mild flavor is best in raw form and will be a great addition to your holiday meals! 

It's Hard for Onions to Compete with Christmas Tree!

Ashley Narvaiz - Wednesday, November 30, 2016

25-30 million Christmas trees are sold in the United States every year! A product that costs very little to grow, makes for a great profit during the holiday season. Oregon is listed as the one of the top Christmas Tree producing states in the nation. What you may not know is that these farm-grown festivities bring serious competition for freight.

With the weather cooling down, we can’t ship our onions on flat bed trucks during the winter months, which limits our options for transportation. From a week before Thanksgiving to Christmas Day, Christmas tree shippers are feverishly shipping trees from coast to coast. With such a large profit return, tree shippers are willing to pay more for freight costs, simply because they can afford to. They have a month-long time crunch to make profit.

This leaves onion shippers like us having a harder time not only finding trucks but also paying the freight costs. Typically we see a 15-20% increase in delivery rates, especially to the east coast.

See more from trucking company DAT here: http://www.dat.com/blog/post/Christmas-Trees-Boost-Rates-in-Unexpected-Places

Mint Oil Testimonial

Ashley Narvaiz - Tuesday, August 09, 2016

From various fairs and shows, we have had so much fun sharing our mint oil with excited customers! We are so thankful to have met Nichole at a fair last summer and she was very excited to share with you why she loves our Owyhee Mint Oil best! As an essential oils lover, Nichole not only believes in the quality of our product, but also has a ton of recipes to share with our followers! 


Read below how Nichole met our Owyhee Family at the fair and has since become a part of our family!


I live and work in Central Florida. In August 2015, I came to Boise, ID for my first two week vacation in…well…forever. Who goes to Boise for their first vacation, right? Well I did, and it turned out to be AMAZING! 


You see, that day I discovered Owyhee Mint. Now at this point, I had peppermint oil but I hadn’t used it yet. Owyhee changed all that.  I was already familiar with essential oils and how they are made, so I first interrogated the poor sales staff how their mint was distilled and if it had any chemicals in it. Once I was assured that their product was 100% pure steam distilled with NO chemicals or additives, I was hooked. Not to mention they offered Spearmint and Natural Mint, which were two oils not currently offered by my oil supplier at that time. 


I also noticed that the two staff members who were offering their wares were so knowledgeable about the oils and so excited about all the uses for them that even I fell prey to their enthusiasm. From the first purchase I made at that fair to the second one, about two months later, the owners and operators of Owyhee Mints have been nothing short of an amazing team of customer service experts. My second order came in a nice little package with a box of candies and a small note thanking me for my interest in the product as well as the circled ingredient on the candies box indicating their mints were in it! How cool is that? This even impressed the hubby, who now by the way, uses my oils for himself! Hah, see? Should we tell him I just placed another order?


So by now you’re wondering why mint essential oils? What are they good for other than your toothpaste and gum? Well, let me count the ways: Mint is a natural cooling element. It can induce feelings of calm but also be a source of energy. Peppermint has been known to sooth the digestive track and it helps with headaches and muscle spasms. Spearmint not only smells amazing but it can be used as an anti-itch remedy. Bugs HATE mint! The smell alone sends them packing and here in Florida, we get those tiny sugar ants that love to come marching in, invading everything.  


 People have been using essentials oils for thousands of years. The Chinese, the Egyptians; the FloridiansJ. I like them because they come from the earth. When produced naturally; steamed directly from the plant and bottled without fillers, all essential oils offer numerous nutritional and medicinal properties. Mint just happens to be a biggie and I’m glad I found Owyhee and their oils. I encourage anyone interested to do their own research: make sure any essential oils you choose to use are pure therapeutic grade with no chemicals or fillers. Ask if they are safe for consumption or if only intended for topical application or diffusing for aromatherapy. 


Owyhee oils are steamed distilled (the right way), bottled naturally with no fillers and produced by a family company that loves not only their product but what the customer thinks about that product. I have had nothing but good experiences with the Owyhee family and will continue to use their mint oils!


Why Should You Ship Early Onions on Flatbeds?

Ashley Narvaiz - Wednesday, August 03, 2016

Early Onion varieties tend to have less skin, a larger neck, and larger roots versus the long-day onions. It's important to cure the onions and we do everything at our shed from when we first put them in bins to when we are packing to let the onions dry and put on more skin. 


Inevitably though, they do lose skin on the packing line. However, early onions can quickly replace their lost skin with a short 12-24 hours of air flow. Air flow is crucial in replacing lost skin, allowing onions to arrive in better condition and to typically have a longer shelf-life. 



Here's where flatbed transportation comes in. Flatbeds provide optimal air flow to the onions during transportation. Refrigerated vans are the second best option, while vented vans with our current heat conditions are the worst option. 


When shipping early onions and wanting to receive the best quality, longest-lasting onion, it's wise to employ flatbeds for all of your transportation needs! 

Press Release: Owyhee Produce Launches New Mint Oil for Consumers

Ashley Narvaiz - Sunday, July 31, 2016

Owyhee Produce is excited to release its locally grown and distilled mint oil directly to the public!



Owyhee Produce began growing mint in their fields in the early 70s, and have been distilling it themselves since 1976. Until now, the mint oil has been sold to companies who use it to make toothpaste, gum, and anything minty on a large scale.


New this year, Owyhee has bottled their own oil into retail-sized containers for individual and small business use! Our new bottles come in 16mL and 1oz sizes – and when using it just drops at a time, can last for months.



Owyhee Produce first shared their mint oil at the Western Idaho Fair in Boise and the response was incredible! Our pure oil from our small, third-generation family farm is all natural and of great quality.


“This is a new adventure for us and we’re very excited,” said Keilee Myers. “People are coming back to the idea of wanting to know where things come from, and they are very interested in pure essential oils. We love educating consumers about our steam-distilling process and sharing our family farm history. ” 


At shows we often share our delicious mint lemonade (a gallon made with just one drop of oil!), but that is only one of the many uses for mint oil. It can be used as a bug repellent, fever reducer, and even a digestive aide. Many people can’t believe how many different uses there are!


Soon you’ll be able to order your own Owyhee Produce Mint Oil online through our website, but to order now, call us directly at our packing shed (541-610-0410) or email Keilee at keilee@owyheeproduce.com

Mother Daughter Team Pack Over 1 Million Ida-Spears

Ashley Narvaiz - Friday, June 17, 2016

Our 2016 asparagus season was an incredible success! Not only did our product and sales both increase, so did our team.


We Value Family


Robin Froerer has led our asparagus team for many years, making our Ida-Spears operations a great success. Her daughter, Keilee, often worked at the shed during her summers while attending college, but this year she stepped into a larger role, working alongside her mom to oversee the operation.



“Nobody cares more than family,” Robin said. That’s why hiring family members is so valued by Owyhee Produce. Our children and grandchildren can see what Owen started and grew to where it is today, and they have a passion to continue that legacy for their future families.


Next Year, Even Better


While Keilee and Robin admit there were a few challenges working together as mom and daughter, they experienced an incredibly successful season together. With one of our longest seasons coming to a close this week, they’ve packed just over a million pounds of Ida-Spears – compared to just 750,000 last year – and that isn’t even with our newer asparagus acreage at its peak yet. We can expect next year's season to be even more of a success.




Asparagus: A Labor of Love


Most asparagus lovers aren’t aware of how labor-intensive the crop is. With every acre needing to be picked every day, sometimes twice, Robin has an average of 85-100 people picking and 65 people packing daily. With our season running from just April to June, it’s a very busy few months to bring our delicious greens to market.


New this year, we shared weekly Flash Sales on Facebook for social media followers to come out to the shed and buy our asparagus at a great discount. Our first sale was viewed by over 22,000 people and was by far the biggest sale at the shed that we’ve ever had.


“It’s so great to interact with everyone – most of them want to see how it all happens and once they do , they understand how much work it is and why it’s sometimes expensive at the store,” Keilee shared.


Robin added, “Interacting with everyone typically leads to us sharing about our farm history and our family. I had one lady recently tell me that we truly are a family farm, and she never thought she’d meet one.”

Mint Lemonade with the ACF

Ashley Narvaiz - Thursday, March 31, 2016

This March we were invited to give a presentation to the American Culinary Federation's Boise chapter! This unique foundation strives to bring chefs, restaurant owners, and wholesalers in direct contact with growers and shippers in order to bridge gaps across the industry. 


President Sarah Mallard brought together members from Sysco, Metro Meals on Wheels, Food Services of America, Mobi 2 Market, and many others to pack the event. Owyhee Produce and Southwind Farms presented on behalf of growers and shippers. 





What we love about these face-to-face, intimate setting presentations is that we get to talk about WHAT we do and WHY to people who can ask questions and engage with our growing process. Yes, we grow onions, asparagus, and mint, along with all of our other rotation crops. But we love to talk about HOW we do that using common sense farming practices. We love sharing our history from Owen's small beginnings to our success today.  We love to share how you can take our produce and bring it directly into your kitchen in a variety of ways. 


We can share a lot through our website and social media profiles, but there's no better way to understand what we do than to be able to ask us directly at an event like this, or come to our packing shed to see the action yourself. 



From the Farm: Employee Highlight

Ashley Narvaiz - Thursday, January 28, 2016

"His hands look like this, so mine can look like this."



Kyle Wheeler has been farming all his life. From running a hay business with his Dad growing up, to working in our fields now Wheeler says, "Once a country boy, always a country boy."


Wheeler has worked for the last 2 years as an Applicator for us - going over our fields with fertilizers to help each of our crops grow and stay healthy. 
 

After being brought up in the farming lifestyle, Wheeler enjoys being out in the fields every day. Once in a while, he'll have the chance to take one of his kids on a tractor ride or they'll meet to have lunch together.


At Owyhee Produce, we couldn't be more thankful for our farmers like Kyle Wheeler that work hard every day and value family as much as we do. 

New Year, New Land!

Ashley Narvaiz - Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Owyhee Produce is excited to announce the acquisition of new acreage in Murphy, Idaho!



This 400 acre addition will allow us to add to our onion productions in 2016 in order to meet the demands of our customers. The land could yield around 600 more loads, or 510,000 more bags than we do now. 


Look for more updates on our land in Murphy as we begin to plant and harvest later this year!



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