Haun Packing says good foodservice movement a ‘pleasant surprise’
Onion movement has been good throughout the season for Haun Packing in Weiser, ID, with General Manager Herb Haun describing the demand from foodservice as a “pleasant surprise” in the wake of COVID-19.
Haun told The Produce News during the week before Thanksgiving that his operation had been busy as the holidays approached.
“The Thanksgiving pull was mostly last week and the beginning of this week,” he said on Nov. 18, adding that demand was strong across the board for color and sizes. “Red movement has been good and did pick up for the holidays,” he said. “Retail demand is quite good, and foodservice has definitely picked up, which has been a pleasant surprise. But we continue to take it one day at a time.”
Prices, he said, “have held pretty well,” and he said that loads to date for the Treasure Valley are running ahead of this time last year, “so transportation has to be at least adequate.” Transportation has been very tight in the Northwest, and Haun said labor is also tight.
“We have a good crew that returns every year,” he said.” Without that, we’d be in trouble. But we’re doing good, and the office is humming right along.”
The packing shed started shipping Aug. 1, which is about a week ahead of normal, and commenting on the onions’ excellent quality and sizing, which trends to jumbos and colossals, Haun said the Treasure Valley growing season was considerably better than that of 2019. “We didn’t have the fall rain this year, so harvest went well. And we didn’t have the early freeze, either. We did experience a good, long growing season that was not too extremely hot through July, and decent harvest weather gave us a nice cure. All the onions were inside before the bad weather started.”
As far as food safety and COVID, Haun Packing has its FSMA protocol as well as pandemic measures in place, Haun said.
“We’re of course sanitizing more than ever before, practicing social distancing and wearing masks where they’re needed,” he said.