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Size slightly smaller, but quality excellent for Snake River Produce

With summer 2013 setting records for heat in the Treasure Valley of Idaho-Eastern Oregon, shippers are seeing somewhat reduced yields and a smaller size profile on their onions.

But Kay Riley, general manager of Snake River Produce in Nyssa, OR, said quality of the Spanish Sweets his operation began packing on Aug. 21 is excellent, and production will be normal this season.

Riley told The Produce News in early September that the region had experienced 70 days with temps exceeding 90F starting June 1, and 13 of those days saw the century mark of 100F.

“The result is an increase in the effects of the iris yellow spotted virus and will result in reduced yields and size,” he said of the area overall. “However, we still anticipate about normal production for Snake River Produce, and it appears that even though size is down, quality should be excellent.”

Riley said Snake River’s acreage remains steady, but he said white and reds have increased slightly. He also noted the upcoming retirement of longtime owner-grower Ken Teramura.

“Ken is preparing to retire and has sold his interest to Randy and Brian Kameshige,” Riley said. “Their production should help offset the loss of Ken’s when he retires.”

He said plans were to begin storing onions on Sept. 16, but Riley added, “we did have significant rain the last two days [Sept. 2 and 3], which has temporarily slowed harvest.” He went on to say, “We anticipate a pretty normal season and are optimistic with the reduced production the market will be good.”

Working with Riley in sales is Tiffany Cruickshank, who also handles transportation.

The company stays current with its food-safety certification and uses GPS and a mock recall segment for its traceability. It has received superior ratings from AIB, and Snake River’s grower base is GAP-certified through the USDA. Moreover, Snake River has implemented multi-level testing by Certified Onions Inc. in coordination with the Oregon Department of Agriculture.