Featured image: Red onions, Hugo Flores with Organic King in La Paz, MX
Matt Murphy with L&M Companies in Raleigh, NC, told us on April 27 that the company’s Warden, WA, program will be wrapping up by May 6. “We are in the process of finishing up Northwest onions, and we should have everything shipped out of Warden by the 6th,” he said. “We started our Calipatria program yesterday, and demand at startup is about as good as I have ever seen it. For the last several weeks now, we’ve had a ton of inquiries and buyers looking to switch over. I think it has a lot to do with the fact that some of the Northwest shippers that routinely ship into May are cleaning up or have already finished. It looks like most everyone in the Northwest is going to be done in a week or so. That’s cause for us to keep an eye on the market too” He continued, “The market is steady right now. It’s not on fire or anything crazy like we thought it might be, but with the lack of supplies out there, we’ll just have to see what happens.” Matt added that the Calipatria new crop has great quality. “We are shipping all colors and sizes out of Calipatria now, and the quality is very good. Of course, these are summer onions so buyers know what to expect, but we’ve had very good growing weather, and we are really happy with the quality we are seeing. Down in Calipatria we always keep that sales office on-site fully staffed. Ken Stewart with Asumendi Produce is finished up in Idaho-Oregon so we have him on loan for the summer, so he will be working L&M sales for us. So Trent Faulkner and Ken are down there now, and I will be traveling to California as well.” On transportation, Matt said it’s been better this week. “I’m not exactly sure why transportation is better this week. It could be that we aren’t currently competing with any other major commodities, but that could flip on a dime. But for now it’s been pretty good.”
Mike Davis with Tex-Mex Sales, LLC in Weslaco told us on April 27 that his area has received recent rain. “We’ve been very dry here so we did need the rain,” Mike said. “But we probably didn’t need this much during harvest. Depending on the area, anywhere from one to five inches fell. I received two or three inches, and while it’s not going do much to harvest overall, it’s slowed things up this week.” On demand, Mike said it’s been excellent. “I have great business,” he said. “Right now I am managing supplies. The market is steady, and I anticipate we’re going to see an increase. Reds are tight and going up, but really across the board, I think we’re looking at an increase.” On transportation, he said it’s better this week. “Transportation is much better this week than last. Rates have come off this week too.”
Don Ed Holmes with The Onion House in Weslaco said on April 27 the recent rain had set back harvest until Friday, but he added, “We should be close to finishing late next week except for the block I have that will come in late May. We’re shipping reds, whites, and yellows now.” He noted the Chihuahua deal will start at the end of next week.
David DeBerry with Southwest Growers in McAllen also noted that harvest had slowed, and he said he’s very near the end of the Rio Grande Valley crop. “We’re ready to start in Quemada/Eagle Pass on Tuesday with all three colors and all sizes. We’ll also have whites from Coahuila, MX, next week that will run the month of May.”
Dan Borer with Keystone Fruit Marketing reported from his Walla Walla, WA, sales office on April 27. “We are currently shipping out of five areas – Texas, Mexico, Vidalia, California and we are just finishing up with Peru,” he said. “This is a fairly late finish for us out of Peru, but we are set up to give the customer what they want, and we were able to go a little longer with our Peruvians this season. With all the areas we are shipping out of, the movement has been good, and we really don’t have much to complain about.” Dan added, “Vidalia has a very, very good crop, and really there has been good quality coming out of Texas and Mexico too. We just got started in California so it’s a little early to comment on quality there, but I expect good quality since the growing weather in California was good all season. I will say that Vidalia continues to see shortages of labor, and while this shouldn’t impact their ability to ship, it is concerning.” He continued, “Pricing is also good, and the market has been strong and steady. I do see buyers working on trying to get onions closer to home due to freight costs, at least on sweets. It makes a lot of sense if you can get sweets closer to their destination and keep freight down. All in all, things are going smoothly and it’s been a good week for onions.”
James Johnson with Carzalia Valley Produce in Columbus, NM, told us on April 27, “It’s a slow start so far out of our Mexican deal, with whites this week and hopefully other colors next week. Northern Chihuahua looks like three more weeks. James also reported on his New Mexico crop, which he said “looks to be on track for end of May.”
Hugo Flores with Organic King in La Paz, MX, told us on April 27, “Demand is good and quality still holding up excellent. We’re starting to share market with California product. Prices on reds are going up while yellows and whites keep steady. Freight situation is going back to normal this week after the last two weeks when it was a struggle to get trucks for our deliveries at McAllen.” Many thanks to Hugo for sending in photos this week.
Danny Ray with Ray Farms, Inc. in Glennville told us on April 27 that his shed started packing reds on April 26. “We started packing reds yesterday, and business is HOT,” Danny said. “We had a lull last week after Easter, but this week has picked up quite a bit for not just reds but yellows too. Quality is very good, thank the Lord. And the weather has been perfect for harvest. Lots of sunshine and warm weather.” On the market, Danny said it’s steady. “We just got started on reds, so I am not sure if the prices are moving up, but the market overall is steady and strong,” he said. “Transportation has been better this week too. We haven’t had any problems getting trucks.”
Dan Borer with Keystone Fruit Marketing reported from his Walla Walla sales office on April 27. “The Walla Walla crop is looking very good and progressing well,” he said. “We’ve had some cooler weather, but that is good for the plants at this stage. We are excited about this year’s crop. We think it’s going to be a good season.” On hybrids, Dan said the growers in his area have their onions planted. “It appears that the growers in our area have been able to stick to their planting schedules,” he said. “It’s important to note that costs for growing have really skyrocketed, and it’s a serious issue that growers are having to deal with.”
Zach Mason with Zach Mason Farms in Fowler told us on April 27 recent winds in Colorado haven’t damaged his new crop. “The 2022 onion crop is all emerged, and the stands look excellent,” Zach said. “The wind has been brutal, but I’ve been able to keep the onion fields wet so that the ground doesn’t move.” He added, “We’re about a week away from starting post-emerge herbicide treatments, and then cultivating. It’s about to get super busy!”