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Onion Expert

Social Media Gave Us Support

Ashley Narvaiz - Monday, July 17, 2017

Owyhee Produce is lucky to have such an amazing extended “family” that surrounds our three-generation operated farm – from the wholesalers that distribute our produce to consumers that share their favorite recipes. In recent years, social media has allowed us to share live videos of our harvest, photos of our hard-working crew, and get to know our YOU – our followers!


Over the past few months we’ve gotten to know a gentleman by the name of Chris Holmes, a fellow farmer at Mata Farms in Mississippi, via our Facebook page. A few years ago, Chris was in need of a load of whites and reached out to Shay and Robin:


Chris said, “I saw you guys rise from a very small operation to building your own packing shed and I knew the story. I’d seen some of your social media and knew the members of the Froerer family were very strong believers.”


That conversation made an impression on Chris and when he saw the Treasure Valley begin to experience the effects of Snowmaggedon 2017, Chris felt led to reach out to us again.


“I could see what was actually happening through Shay’s videos and updates. I could see it was crushing the company, having known them. It was just totally unbelievable. It compelled me to enlist members of my church to pray without ceasing to turn the tragic situation around," he said. 


More than just prayers, Chris made it a point to respond to each and every post we published with words of encouragement and humor to help us get through the winter. Maybe you’ve seen his creative memes in the comments? Our team began to look forward to seeing what Chris would come up with and it offered us some humor in a difficult time.


Social media has changed our industry in so many ways. At Owyhee Produce, we’re grateful for the opportunity it has given us to meet people like Chris and forge meaningful, supportive relationships in our industry. Thank you Chris – for everything! 


Here are some examples of Chris's awesome creations: 


    


  

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! 

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!


Record-Breaking Harvest

Ashley Narvaiz - Thursday, October 08, 2015

Last weekend marked the earliest close to the onion harvest season in history. Never before have we been able to finish a season so quickly here in Nyssa, Oregon.  We owe it to the nearly perfect conditions that allowed the season to move steadily along.


Initially, ideal warm weather matured our onions quickly which allowed us to start our harvest season earlier this year, at the end of July. By starting earlier, and harvesting our early varieties sooner, we were able to harvest later varieties sooner too.


Additionally, harvest weather conditions were warm and dry – allowing three solid weeks of steady harvest with only a single day of rain. With no interruptions, the harvest progressed quickly without complications or damage from weather conditions. Now that ground harvest is finished, we will be supplying the market with our storage onions for the rest of our shipping season. Our onion fields will rest, or be planted with alternate crops to keep the soil healthy and ready for next season.


The valley is 1,300 loads ahead of last years’ numbers this time last year. This milestone season is a great indicator of seasons to come.

Watch our harvest video below!

Where the Asparagus Ends

Gabrielle Nelson - Wednesday, July 08, 2015

This year Froerer Farms had their longest growing season on record for asparagus. The Froerer family started growing asparagus in the 1990’s. During the past two decades the usual season had an average of 40 packing days, but this year Owyhee Produce fresh packed for 57 days. Farm Manager Craig Froerer said, “The crop started earlier because of warmer weather. The youngest fields are in their fourth year, and were heavily picked this year. In three years they will be in full production. Over the next three years [the asparagus’s] health and maturity will improve.” In other words there is an upward trend in asparagus which doesn’t show signs of slowing.

“All I equate [asparagus] to is a lot of hard work,” Packing Manager Robin Froerer explained. About 100 pickers harvested over 140 acres twice a day. For the first time ever Froerer Farms had to deal with a shortage of labor on the packaging side of business. Despite this set back the Owyhee Produce and IDA Spear merger has flourished. Since the January 2015 merger Owyhee Produce’s ability to provide benefits to their joined customers has increased. More employees are available to take customer calls and questions. Also, there are more employees to help with the logistics of shipping.

              This year Froerer Farms’ asparagus was enjoyed country wide: from Seattle to Florida. Some shipments traveled as far as Canada, but some produce always stays close to home. Local sales make any season better. “We’ve had great community and local support” Robin said. Because Froerer Farms sells to locals they reduce product waste. Also, Froerer Farms extensively gives back to the community that supports them.   “We have donated to every foodbank in the Treasure Valley,” Robin said, Froerer Farms has also donated to Meals on Wheels and nearby foodbanks in Star, Payette, Ontario, Nysa, Vale, and Parma. Some of the donated produce will also go to Portland Steve Morningstar from Western Idaho Community Action Partnership Incorporated (WICAP), said [Froerer Farms] has donated the most fresh produce of any local farm so far this summer. He is hopeful for more donations later. The asparagus, “helps families eat healthier and is a nice treat,” he said. WICAP has received asparagus from Froerer Farms since May. In June alone WICAP compiled 302 food boxes for 283 families. In addition to the food boxes Froerer Farms’ donations helped provided fresh produce to 405 adults, 220 children, and 95 seniors. Remarking on the end of this year’s asparagus season Craig Froerer said, “Production for the future looks very promising.” 

 

 

 

US (OR): Unusually early start green asparagus season

Shay Myers - Friday, April 10, 2015
“Our asparagus season is off to the earliest start in 25 years,” said Robin Froerer with Owyhee Produce. “We’ve experienced unseasonably warm weather and already started picking in March,” Froerer added. In an average season, picking starts between April 15 and April 20. “Although we’ve been picking for a few weeks, volumes are still light. This is mainly caused by last week’s cold spell when we lost some of our production to frost.” As the weather warms up again, volumes will become heavier. 



High prices
“Prices are fantastic for the growers,” commented Froerer. At the moment, they are about $50 - $56 for a 28 lb. box. The same time last year, prices were not bad, but came out quite a bit lower with $46 - $48 per 28 lb. box. “Once more volume comes on, prices will start to come down. We are in the same production window as Washington State and as soon as they come into full production, we will notice a drop in prices,” said Froerer. Asparagus is a labour-intensive crop and getting it picked is an issue. “It is a 12-20 year crop and because of its labor intensity many growers throughout the US are not replacing it and have taken it out in recent years.“



Owyhee Produce ships its asparagus all over the United States to mainstream retailers like Albertson’s, Winco’s and Walmart. Additionally, the company also is a supplier to the foodservice industry.

For more information:
Robin Froerer
Owyhee Produce
Tel: (+1) 541-610-0410

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