OnionBusiness.com recently spoke with Derek Ennis, sales manager for L&M Cos. potatoes and onions, to get his perspective on the current onion market.
A veteran of 13 and one-half years with L&M, Ennis works with onion customers across the country, “but heavily concentrated in the South and Southeast,” he said. “We service customers from all aspects of our business – wholesale, foodservice and retail.”
Working with Ennis to provide the best in onion quality and service are his team of regional managers, including Greg Hutton in Rocky Ford, CO, and Trent Falkner, Cal Parker, Amber Esmond and Marissa Spivey, all located in Raleigh, NC.
As the current season moves into the holiday rush, Derek said quality is a big issue for the industry.
“Quality is the largest issue we are currently seeing. There seems to be a fair amount of onions with internal issues. I believe many sheds are trying to run some of their tougher lots first, and that is why we are seeing some of the issues,” he said. He added, “But overall quality has been nice.”
As for demand, Ennis said it has been increasing, “but that is primarily due to the Thanksgiving holiday push.”
When asked what grower/shippers can do in working with the onion marketing and sales teams, Ennis said the answer is found in basically one word: “Communication.”
He explained, “As long as the growers and shippers are communicating quality, availability and what they are hearing from the field and storages, it makes our job much easier.”
The market in early November, he said, was one of steady to slightly higher movement, and he added, “The red market is steady right now but I still believe we will see it increase in the coming weeks.”