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Bob Larson Walla Walla Sweets Harvest Pt 2
by Bob Larson, click here for bio

Program: Washington State Farm Bureau Report
Date: August 16, 2018

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I’m Bob Larson. Harvest of the Sweet Onions in Walla Walla is almost complete with growers feeling pretty good about this year’s production. The Sweets, which are a hybrid developed by Italian immigrants, is still evolving.

Grower Mike Locati says yield is one of the areas where they’ve managed to boost Sweet Onion production significantly …

LOCATI … “Back in the day, a 40-45 bin crop was a pretty good crop. I think now, we’re pushing 60 to 65 bins per acre so yields are definitely better.”

But, Locati says gone are the days when it seems everybody wanted the 5-inch Jumbos …

LOCATI … “You know though, to be honest with you there’s a pretty significant market for a consumer-packed onion, you know, which we call like 3-inches. 3-inch onions we basically just pack into a 5-pound sack or a consumer bag.”

And as this year’s harvest winds down, he says it’s been a very good season …

LOCATI … “Yeah, yeah, we’ve had a good time. Great harvest weather, almost too good for us because I think what happened is the onion, in some cases, matured a little faster than we could harvest and so we got a little ripe in some places which, you know, is what it is. That’s the life of a farmer, but we’ll manage.”

And before you know it, Locati says we start all over again …

LOCATI … “Exactly! We’re already starting to water ground and prep ground for fall planting. We’ll be planting the first week in September. It’s already in the works.”

Walla Walla Sweet Onions have been grown in the Walla Walla Valley since 1900.

Sweet Onion harvest begins in mid-June and runs through mid-to-late-August.

And you weren’t quite sure, the mild taste of Walla Walla Sweet comes from a low Sulphur content and not sugars.

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