Jason Walker with Bybee Produce in Prosser told us Jan. 24 that demand is normal for this time of year. “Things are good for us,” Jason said. “Demand is normal, and the market stable and remains steady.” Like many, Jason said transportation continues to be an issue. “Transportation is rough; that’s all we really can say,” he said. Jason added that quality continues to be very good, and Bybee has availability in all colors and sizes. “If we keep running at the rate we are now, it’s possible that we could finish a couple of weeks early,” he said. When asked about planting, Jason said, “We are planning now for a normal March 1 planting, and we will have the same program we had last year.”
Dan Borer with Keystone Fruit Marketing reported from his office in Walla Walla Jan. 24, “The market has been very strong. Demand has been up and down, which is due in part to the transportation issues. I think we have come to new reality here. Customers and shippers are just trying to get their feet under them right, but together we are going to have to address the problem.” Dan said Keystone’s hybrid quality is good. “We have been very happy with the quality this year,” he said. “We had a normal growing season and normal yields, without any issues, which is all good.”
Jason Pearson with Eagle Eye Produce reported from his Nyssa, OR, sales office on Jan. 24 that demand has been consistent this week. “Reds have been a little slow but not bad,” he said. “And yellows have been moving at a decent rate.” Jason said the market is steady, noting, “It’s a typical January, so the market is somewhat light. But that’s not a huge deal because it is usually like this.” He said transportation is still tight. “It’s not just one factor,” he said. “The new E-logs, truck shortages and rates are all a factor.” When asked about planting for the 2018 crop, Jason said, “I have talked to growers, and the report is they are all optimistic about planting and the new season.”
Ashley Robertson with Fort Boise Produce in Parma, ID, said she has found trucks “easier this week.” She said, “The cost for trucks is still high, but there are a few more around.” Noting Fort Boise expects to ship through April, she said, “This year’s crop has become longer due to not being able to move things.” But she said movement this week is “better this week than the last couple of weeks,” and she said Fort Boise is shipping “lots of medium reds and yellows,” and she said the company has all sizes of both. Whites will be cleaned up soon, she added. Quality of the onions is very good. Commenting on warmer weather this winter than last, Ashley said there has been some talk of farmers getting into the fields earlier, but there’s been no decision yet.
Don Ed Holmes with The Onion House in Weslaco, TX, said his Utah deal will be wrapped up Friday or Saturday, “right on schedule.”
Rick Minkus with Minkus Family Farms in New Hampton reported on Jan. 24 that the company has been very busy this week. “We have been so busy lately,” Rick said. “The last day or two it has slowed up a little, and we have finally had some time to catch up and take a breath. Our crew was actually able to quit at a normal hour today.” Rick said there is high demand for medium reds and jumbo yellows. “The market is stable right now, and we might be seeing a bit of an increase too,” he said. “Transportation continues to be an issue, but we are making the most of it here in New York.” Rick said they plan to start planting April 1. “We are weather guys out here. When we see a break in the weather, we will be ready to go,” he said.
Don Ed Holmes with the Onion House in Weslaco, TX, said he’s brought in a few whites out of Mexico recently, but the sweet deal out of Tampico will kick off on Monday. “Everything looks really good,” he said. “Business has been a little quiet this week, but we see it already picking up for next week.”
Dan Borer with Keystone Fruit Marketing’s office in Walla Walla, WA, told us Keystone’s sweets out of Mexico will start shipping around the second or third week in February. “Right now there is limited volumes of whites crossing, and those onions are staying in the Southwest for the most part. That pace should begin to pick up in the weeks ahead. Where Mexico is concerned, it should be a normal crop and season.”
Dan Borer with Keystone Fruit Marketing’s Walla Walla, WA, office reported Jan. 24 the market for the company’s Mayan Sweets from Peru is very good and demand is excellent. “You know, January is a very good month for us with Mayan Sweets,” Dan said. “This season’s quality is very good, and they are selling very well. In fact, we still have some fresh shipments yet to arrive. So, unlike some, it is expected that we will have Peruvian onions available through the end of February.”
Texas Rio Grande Valley:
Don Ed Holmes with The Onion House in Weslaco told us on Jan. 24 the Rio Grande Valley crop is right where it should be – asleep and waiting for the warm weather to come. “Texas is still cool right now,” he said. “Today it’s overcast, and the high is in the 60s, which is a normal Valley winter.” The early onions are expected to start in late March.
Dan Borer with Keystone Fruit Marketing reports that Keystone’s Vidalia planting went in as normal. “It’s possible that recent weather may delay the start date somewhat, but that’s the only concern,” Dan said. “And even then, it’s really too early to make that determination. We’ll just have to see what happens as the crop progresses.”