Michelle Gurda with A. Gurda Produce in Pine Island told on April 17, “Starting yesterday things started picking up. Seems like buyers forget what the date is and the wake-up and say, ‘Hey it’s Easter!’ and they start ordering.” Michelle said that overall demand and business has been steady. “We are still shipping New York onions and could be for the next three weeks to a month,” she said. “We are still getting some onions out of Idaho and Oregon, but they are starting to slow down. And we still haven’t seen anything out of Texas, but we expect they are coming in the next week or two.” Michelle said the market is holding steady. “Reds are getting tight, and the price is increasing,” she said. “The market for jumbo yellows is good and had increased and seems to be holding. Medium yellows spiked, but they seem to be getting a little cheaper now.”
John Shuman, president and CEO at Shuman Farms, provided us with an update on Shuman’s 2019 Vidalia Onion crop, saying, “As we begin harvesting, we’re cautiously optimistic about the upcoming Vidalia season. Although yields are lower than previous years, quality looks good at this point. We’ve been saying that the front-end of the crop looks better than the back-end, and that certainly seems to be the case at this time. Our caution comes from recognizing the fact that as an industry, Vidalia starts the season 17 percent down in total acreage. Combine this with a national onion shortage, and our hope for good supplies this summer hinge on Vidalia’s late-season yields.” John continued, “With industry concerns about the late crop coming from several key factors, it’s a wait and see attitude right now. It has been my experience, that any shortage of Vidalia supply will be felt more so during the summer storage season and not so much in May. With this in mind, we are keeping a close eye on our late season varieties to see how the summer storage season will unfold.” He concluded, “The market remains steady and demand continues to be good. Shuman Farms began shipping USA Georgia grown sweet onions this week with plans to transition to Vidalia Sweet Onions this Monday, April 22.” Many thanks to Shuman Farms for this week’s featured image.
Texas Rio Grande Valley/Mexico:
Don Ed Holmes with The Onion House in Weslaco said on April 17 his 1015 deal is “running wide open” now. “It went from 0 to 100 in one week,” Don Ed said, adding that the Mexican onion situation has helped as well. “The whites out of Mexico are selling at a premium, and last weekend and this week, and Mexican growers finish there, the Mexican market got hot. Yellows grown there are staying there, and Texas is shipping some yellows to Mexico. That’s another plus to the market and has really firmed the price up here. And we think it could even get better.” He continued, “We’ll see if it picks up more next week. We’re the eternal optimists.” Don Ed said the Rio Grande Valley has another three weeks, “Plus the white deal from Mexico is good.” He added he’ll start with whites from the central high desert region of Torreón soon. He said the border situation coming in from Mexico has been a “son of a gun, but it’s getting better.”
John Harris with Paradigm Fresh in Fort Morgan reported on April 17 that markets “are steady so far this week.” He added, “Movement is pretty average for this time of year. It tends to feel a bit sluggish with multiple shipping areas going at the moment, and that trend is likely to continue next week as California will get going, and we’ll have quite a few shipping districts in play.” John said, “Quality has been holding steady in the Northwest and with new crop supplies, so either region is good option depending on what is working for you.” Fort Morgan has onions available, and John said, “Our prices will become more competitive out of this area on new crop as California gets started next week.”
Chris Woo with Owyhee Produce in Parma, ID, said that operation has onions to go through April and into May, and he said, “We still have mostly yellows, with a few whites and reds available.” Chris said demand has slowed somewhat, although prices remain good.
Brenden Kent with Sunset Produce Company in Prosser told us on April 17 that Sunset has been staying busy working with its customers to finish the season. “We are fortunate to have good customers and relationships that stay with us throughout the season, and we are working with them through the end,” he said. When asked about planting, Brenden said, “Of course, we have different varieties that we plant later and that’s by design, so we should be done planting in the next few days. But it is interesting to note that we are only a few days behind where we were last year, and actually a couple of days ahead of a couple of years ago. So we are in great shape for this year’s growing season.”
Trent Faulkner with L&M Companies in Raleigh, NC, provided an update on Warden for us April 17. “We will be shipping from our Warden operation until the first week in May,” he said. “We’ve had excellent quality out of Warden, and it will be a great finish for the Washington season.” He continued, “Demand has been steady, and the overall market is hanging steady too. The red market seems to be hot right now, and the pricing looks to be heading north, depending on who you talk to. Over the past couple of weeks, there seems to have been a lull in market for jumbo yellows, but we are seeing that pick back up, which is encouraging.”
Rick Greener with Greener Produce visited with us on April 17 and indicated that he is not only planning for the transition to new crop but is also making the transition from skiing to hiking in his beautiful Ketchum, ID, home office location. “We are going to try and ship storage onions as long as we can out of the Northwest,” Rick said. “And as of today, the Northwest sheds we support are strengthening the market and have sold out until Friday or Saturday. On new crop, we expect Texas and California onions to start coming at the end of next week, and some conventional Georgia onions are anticipated to be shipping when the Vidalias start. Of course, we will make the transition eventually, but everyone knows how transitions work, and it can be a little tough at first.” On the market, Rick rated it as steady. “The market overall seems to be holding its own,” he said. “We are starting to get a little busier today, and I guess you could say there are increased Easter orders, but I wouldn’t necessarily call it an Easter pull. Things are pluggin’ along. We have orders on the books, so we’re solid.”
Trent Faulkner with L&M Companies in Raleigh, NC, visited with us on April 17 as he was preparing to leave for Calipatria, CA, on Sunday. He’ll join L&M sales team member Jake Journey to handle the company’s California sales that will start up on Tuesday, April 23. “We are really excited to get going in California,” Trent said. “We will start shipping next Tuesday.” Trent said while it may be a little slower start, “We will definitely be rocking and rolling.” He continued, “When we start up, there will most likely be some overlap of Warden and California shipments, but we will take care of the overlap by shipping our Northwest produce to the Midwest and Northeast and our California product going to Southern states until we make the full transition.”
Trent Faulkner with L&M Companies in Raleigh, NC, commented to us on April 17 that the company’s North Carolina program was coming along nicely. “We anticipate starting shipments around June 1,” Trent said. “So far everything looks very good. We will keep you posted as we get closer.”
Don Ed Holmes with The Onion House in Weslaco, TX, told us April 17 planting is going full bore in Western Colorado and in Corinne, UT. “They’re planting full steam,” he said, noting there’s been an increase in acreage. Both regions will start harvest in the fall, and both will have yellows, reds and whites.